True Greatness

“The greatest among you must be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled; but whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” Matthew 23:11–12

Do you want to be truly great? Do you want your life to truly make a difference in the lives of others? Deep down this desire for greatness is placed within us by our Lord, and it will never go away. Even those who live eternally in hell will hold on to this innate desire, which for them will be the cause of eternal pain, since that desire will never be fulfilled. And sometimes it’s useful to ponder that reality as a motivation to make sure that this is not the fate we encounter.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus gives us one of the keys to greatness. “The greatest among you must be your servant.” Being a servant means that you put others before yourself. You elevate their needs rather than trying to get them to be attentive to your needs. And this is difficult to do.

It’s very easy in life to think of ourselves first. But the key is that we do put ourselves “first,” in a sense, when we practically put others before us. This is because the choice to put others first is not only good for them, it’s also exactly what is best for us. We were made for love. We were made to serve others. We were made for the purpose of giving of ourselves to others without counting the cost. But when we do this, we do not lose ourselves. On the contrary, it is in the act of giving of ourselves and seeing the other first that we actually discover who we are and become what we were created to be. We become love itself. And a person who loves is a person who is great…and a person who is great is a person whom God exalts.

Reflect, today, upon the great mystery and calling of humility. If you find it difficult to put others first and to act as their servant, do it anyway. Make the choice to humble yourself before everyone else. Elevate their concerns. Be attentive to their needs. Listen to what they say. Show them compassion and be ready and willing to do so to the fullest extent. If you do, that desire for greatness that lives deep within your heart will be fulfilled.

My humble Lord, thank You for the witness of Your humility. You chose to put all people first, even to the point of allowing Yourself to experience the suffering and death which was a consequence of our sins. Give me a heart that is humble, dear Lord, so that You can use me to share Your perfect love with others.  Jesus, I trust in You.