Posted by: wordofthevine | August 10, 2013

What is Spiritual Modesty?


“‘Hail Favored One, the Lord is with you.’ She was greatly troubled at this greeting” (Luke 1:29). mary_holy_spirit

Recently the Napa Institute hosted a panel of Bishops who discussed the New Evangelization. Archbishop Nienstedt of St. Paul, MN and Bishop Morlino of Madison,WS were part of the panel. Archbishop Nienstedt exhorted, ” The New Evangelization is the way of the family,” while Bishop Morlino said, “The New Evangelization is not a program but a way of life.” The “Chain of Love” from the spirituality of Venerable Concepcion Cabrera is a way of life communicated with a woman of the family, a mother of 9 children and founder of the Five Works of the Cross. For the last several posts, we have been describing dimensions of the 14 different points that Jesus communicated to Venerable Concepcion Cabrera that form “a way of life” for the Christian in the Chain of Love.

As a digression, some may wonder why Venerable Concepcion creeps into many of the things I write about. On the surface, her life and my life touch each other: she is a modern woman, living in the world with a large family who had a deep passion for God. I am alive, have 6 children who all would report, to whom ever would listen, that their mother is crazy about God. On a deeper note, from the humble confines of her outwardly normal life, Conchita possessed a deep union with God and a mission, in one part, to receive and write some profound insights from God that have a lot to say to the new evangelization. (This is where my life and Concepcion’s diverge, I’m afraid!). Because she wrote 8000 pages of a spiritual journal, there is always new themes to tap into and share in my writing. Her thoughts are so applicable for today!

Going back to the Chain of Love, a way of life for today’s evangelizer, our Lord asked Conchita that souls that follow this way of life have perfect spiritual modesty. What is that? Are these souls to go around saying, “I’m sorry all the time” or trying to hide themselves from view? No spiritual modesty is a call to live like a strawberry in the world. A what?

At dinner last night, my husband shared, “Mary, did you know that strawberries are the only fruit that have their seeds on the outside.” No, I answered. But then I knew, I had been given the perfect metaphor for spiritual modesty. Souls that are modest aren’t defended by the strife of the ego for the goodness on the inside is present to others on the outside. The self is so moved out of the way in them, that God, alive within them resonates outwardly to others.

Jesus described to Venerable Concepcion, in his summary of the virtues, that spiritual modesty is a very precious virtue to him. When souls are modest, he said, “What is present in the depth of the soul, on the inside, flows naturally to the exterior. It is a virtue hidden in pure hearts, where souls are able to put the clamor of their own needs aside, and attend to God and other people.” Modest souls are driven, not by their own selfish needs, which they acknowledge and set aside for a time, but by the goodness of God which they unknowingly resonate to others. They prefer leaving this capacity to resonate goodness unnamed and unacknowledged.

The Virgin Mary is the perfect model of spiritual modesty.”Jesus called her, ” the strength of this virtue.” Unlike Zechariah, who spoke directly, toe to toe, with the Angel Gabriel, Mary blushed with his greeting. When she heard, “Hail, favored one,” the Scriptures tell us that “she was greatly troubled.” She was troubled because the goodness of her interior was brought brusquely to the surface into the light, rather than remaining hidden. Modesty is about living quietly while we resonate our goodness. We don’t seek or even feel comfortable “tooting our own horns.”

Strawberries are evangelizing. As Christians, we want to “wear our hearts, our goodness, on our sleaves so others are attracted to God in us! Where is God inviting you to start to let go of the need for notoriety and notice, to let others go forth ahead of you, so all you have to offer is God’s goodness that shines forth on your surface. Go pray with a strawberry today and ask God where he wants you to begin with spiritual modesty. ~ Mary

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