I tend to do this thing I call ‘chasing the sun.’ As I see the sun going lower into the sky, I will begin to take a walk westwards around a park or campus, or I will drive west in my car. I just head toward the setting sun and chase it until it’s dark and the stars are out.
I never questioned why I do this; I just do. But just like the dirty clothes on the floor that eventually have to be picked up, or that last slice of pizza everyone seems to be avoiding, it has to be dealt with at some point.
There is just something about the sunset; the feeling of being little next to this star. As I have come to chase the sun more and more, or end the day by a long, sweaty hike, or even fishing and catch nothing, humility takes place. Something in the human person is attracted to that feeling of smallness next to things of grandeur. But here’s the thing about humility…I am guilty of having a misconstrued definition of it:
I trip on the sidewalk in front of my crush: “Oh, God is just humbling me.” Or I drop all the things I am carrying: “I mean, now that I think about it, I was kind of boastful earlier today.” Little daily accidents I have, I confuse with God attempting to humble me. (Most the time, it is just me being clumsy.)
To begin with, all my life I never could wrap my head around what humility actually was. Humility to me was this tiny virtue that most people pushed aside. It was not like it’s big, bad brother Strength, or sweet and gentle sister, Kindness. Humility was like the sibling one doesn’t talk about who lives in some small town in Idaho, Population: 404, with a naked cat, Scruffy, as their pet. That was humility to me.
It was not until I asked myself “why?” Why do we as humans reach inner heights by observing the literal and physical heights in front of us?
It is easy to get caught up in the secular view of Catholicism being this big, bad religion that flaunts its chalices of gold and it’s buildings of marble but let’s remember something required in every Catholic Church in the world: the crucifix. That chalice of gold holds the king of all kings, and that building of marble unites us as one heavenly body in Christ, and that Crucifix is the very raw and beautiful sight of humble love.
Staring at that crucifix is like staring at the setting sun. I feel tiny next to the sun, and I feel even tinier compared to the sacrifice of pure love that Jesus made for humanity. It is not a bad tiny. It is a good tiny; a tiny that makes me realize there is more to life than my next meal or bragging about my summer plans; a tiny that conveys the beauty of a love that lays down one's life for a friend.
And if I do say so myself, staring at love never gets old. The same God that created the sunsets that have seen countless ages of time, also decided to humble Himself as man into a sinful humanity. (AND THEN became bread and wine…not a lobster or that super expensive and rare puffer fish found only in Asia (it’s a thing, I promise)…but simple bread and wine.)
Maybe you’ve heard this all before, and I can say I have, but has it gotten old for you yet? Maybe you have traveled the world and seen sunsets as far as the eye can see, and maybe you have seen those Catholic churches that are as good as it gets, but has the crucifix gotten old for you yet? Because I will never understand how chasing the sun gets better and better with each day, and for as long as sunsets and sunrises stay stunning and the oceans remain vast and bottomless, never will I fully understand humility, and never will I understand God’s humility of gifting humanity with Jesus Christ.
Humility is not just what that old Webster guy says to be a noun. It is a verb that Jesus Christ went through for us. The crucifix is stunning and vast and bottomless. The crucifix is not a destination, it is a journey. Humble yourself before the crucifix and I promise, it will not lead you to a small town in Idaho with Scruffy, but to heights larger than the sun with a friend who will take you to paradise.
Alexandra Gonzales comes from the classy and cool city of Dallas, Texas and is a Communication-Journalism major and marketing minor at Franciscan University of Steubenville. She loves to be outdoors and her greatest passion is the love of her life, Jesus Christ. She loves to travel and explore.