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Building Character

by Feb 3, 2023Friar Reflection

Today is the Feast of St. Blaise, Bishop and Martyr. We know more about the devotion to Saint Blaise by Christians around the world than we know about the saint himself.  We do know he suffered affliction. Our first reading from Romans 5 talks about affliction: “knowing that affliction produces endurance, and endurance, proven character, and proven character, hope…” all fueled by the love of God poured into us by the Holy Spirit.

Even though he was an educated and privileged person, the love of God has been poured into his heart, and he was known for his humility in serving the people of God. He did this while living in a part of the Roman Empire that persecuted Christians without mercy. Blaise knew affliction and yet he humbly served right up until the time he was martyred for the Faith.

St. Blaise’s humility was part of his proven character, his saintly persona. What is it about true humility that is attractive and evidence of the love of God active in someone’s life?

  • A humble person has lots to brag about, but he doesn’t boast. He or she might share accomplishments from their life, but for a purpose that has nothing to do with self-aggrandizement. The humble person is just as interested in your accomplishments.
  • A humble person can be corrected because they know that life ever operates in the sphere of learning. As my dad would say, “Every man is your better because you can learn something from them.”
  • The humble person is in charge of their lives – even when they choose to follow, to be obedient, and take the path less desirable.
  • A humble person serves willingly because the motivation is knowing that the one served will be better off.
  • A humble person knows the difference between being a leader and being the boss.
  • A humble person will choose gentleness before strength, will act the same with the poor and the rich, the young and the old, the friend and the foe – will act with compassion and purpose.
  • The humble person pursues greatness. While one might be content in many things, the humble person is not content with their own character. The humble person always seeks greater wisdom, a deeper capacity to love, a balance, and a wholeness…or in our church lexicon – holiness.

We each have a path to holiness and it can start by changing the way we think. Then what we think, becomes the words we speak. The words we speak become the actions of our lives. Those actions become our habits. Habits become character. Character becomes who we are as we stand before God. For we are that and nothing more.

Image credit: St. Blaise, Seton Magazine from Public Domain