As we end our reflections on humility, much could be said. But we will leave it in the capable hands of Annie Dillard. Like Á Kempis, she sees how much we do not see; like Vanier, she sees us as people who need to discover the mystery of forgiveness (and discovery is always a humble task); like Gregory, she sees that being a “little one” is a good thing. We are drawing closer to Holy Week, the most important celebration of the year for Christians, and so it is fitting that we enter it with a good sense of who we are:
“A blur of romance clings to notions of “publicans,” “sinners,” “the poor,” “the people in the marketplace,” “our neighbors,” as though of course God should reveal himself, if at all, to these simple people, these Sunday school watercolor figures who are so purely themselves in their tattered robes, who are single in themselves, while we now are various, complex, and full at heart…. Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord? Or who shall stand in his holy place?
There is no one but us. There is no one to send, nor a clean hand, nor a pure heart on the face of the earth, nor in the earth, but only us, a generation comforting ourselves with the notion that we have come at an awkward time, that our innocent fathers are all dead—as if innocence had ever been…. But there is no one but us. There never has been.”