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Speaking to the Soul: The Furnace of Humiliation

Speaking to the Soul: The Furnace of Humiliation

Feast of Saint Mark

[Go to Mission St Clare for an online version of the Daily Office including today’s scripture readings.]

Today’s Readings for the Daily Office:

Psalms 145 (morning) // 67, 69 (evening)

Ecclesiasticus 2:1-11

Acts 12:25-13:3

While working for the U.S. Forest Service one summer, I used to give campfire presentations using animal skulls. The skulls helped me to teach campers about the differences between predators and prey and lots more that we can deduce about animal behavior from their teeth and bones. During one presentation, I was discussing some features of the rabbit skull, and someone asked whether rabbits were classified as rodents. I answered confidently, “Yes.”

However, a smart youngster sitting with his parents said, “No they’re not. Rabbits are lepurs.” That night, I got a quick biology lesson: Rabbits and hares do not belong to the “Rodentia” order; instead, they are of the Lagomorpha order (and the genus Lepur).

Although I learned something that night, the moment itself was rather humiliating. Here I was in the USFS uniform, offering the full extent of my expertise (which admittedly was not vast) about the local fauna, and a precocious child put me in my place. What I really learned that night, though, was to accept moments of humiliation.

In my life of discipleship, there have been many humiliating moments since then! Today’s first reading advises us to embrace such moments: “Accept whatever befalls you, and in times of humiliation be patient. For gold is tested in the fire, and those found acceptable, in the furnace of humiliation.” So, when humiliating moments expose our limitations, we can allow them to humble and purify us as fully loved children of God. Just think of the heavy blushing as heat from the furnace that gives us hearts of gold.

Lora Walsh blogs about taking risks and seeking grace at A Daily Scandal. She serves as Priest Associate of Grace Episcopal Church in Siloam Springs and assists with adult formation and campus ministry at St. Paul’s in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

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