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Be truly humble to be ‘capax Dei’

Fr. Roy Cimagala . 

SINCE we are made in the image and likeness of God, we have been given the power to be truly like God. In fact, we are meant not only to belong to God, as any creature belongs to him, but to share in God’s very own life as children of his. We are not just any ordinary creature. We are very special, the masterpiece of all of God’s creation.

That may be an incredible statement that we can say about ourselves, but that happens to be what our Christian faith tells us, no matter how undeserving we are of such dignity. And if we are Christian believers even if we cannot understand everything that our faith tells us, we know that such statement is true. It’s not a gratuitous affirmation.

This is what is called, “capax Dei,” an expression coined by St. Augustine that means that we are capable of becoming like God or that we are capable for God. To be sure, this power is a result first of all of God’s grace. But that grace requires a human counterpart which comes in the form, first of all, of humility.

Humility is the virtue that makes us acknowledge that we are nothing without God. It sort of opens our soul for the grace of God to enter. And it is this grace that transforms us, irrespective of our human impotencies, mistakes and errors, into becoming children of God.

And with God’s grace in our soul because of our humility, we can manage to receive the gifts of faith, hope and charity. We can believe natural truths that not only are difficult to discover but also to understand. Even more, it is humility that would enable us to believe supernatural truths where there is no way we can fully understand them, much less, explain them in a human way.

It is humility that would enable us to be like Christ, to be “alter Christus,” who is the pattern of our humanity and the redeemer of our damaged humanity. It is when we are humble that we can manage to bear and to suffer all things, and to love even our enemies, offering forgiveness to our offenders, just like what Christ did and continues to do.

Pride, the opposite of humility, is what blocks God’s grace from entering into our soul. It restricts us to our own powers alone, which in the first place are given by God but which we consider simply to be our own. It gives us a false light, quite convincing in its effect on us, but is really deceptive. It cannot go the distance insofar as the demands and requirements of our authentic human dignity are concerned.

We have to do everything to always grow in the virtue of humility, by training ourselves to always be with God and mindful of everybody else. Humility is like emptying ourselves completely so that God can fully be with us and bring us to our fullest dignity.

This will definitely requires a lot of sacrifices. That’s why Christ told us that if we want to follow him, we should deny ourselves, carry the cross, and follow him. (cfr. Mt 16,24) We have to convince ourselves everyday that we cannot actually follow Christ and identify ourselves with him as we should, unless some self-denials are involved.

Without these self-denials, which are the sure expressions of humility, there is no way we can be like Christ. Our capacity to be like God, “capax Dei,” would be compromised.

Let’s always follow the example of Our Lady, whose continual “Fiat” (be it done) to God’s will, made her the Mother of God and our mother. Her humility catapulted her to be the perfect human person, just like how God wanted us in the beginning, sinless, pure, fully identified with God!

E-mail: roycimagala@gmail.com

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