Taking the Humble Position

What a crazy year these past couple of weeks have been!

Just when you thought that a global pandemic wasn’t enough to deal with, things seem to be getting progressively worse. In the beginning of this month, I found myself wildly searching to see if my cousin’s apartment was attacked from the rioting. (Yes, his apartment was attacked; but he was sheltering in place somewhere else and was safe.)

And then the prayer requests starting pouring in from our parish prayer group:

Pray for my family, as I try to explain to my black six-year-old about racism.

Pray for my family since we’re afraid that our business, which has been forcibly shut down because of the pandemic, is going to be destroyed in the upcoming protest and we will lose everything.

Pray for the kid that I knew that was in my confirmation class and got shot by police a year after we were confirmed.

And let me tell you: I’ve been praying. But oh man… my heart hurts. It’s like all of the bad things that we tried to ignore because we didn’t want to think about it — all the things that we shoved away in the darkness — are all coming to light at the same time. And it is revealing to us how broken we really are and how much pain our nation has borne for centuries.

And I keep on thinking that I need to say something. After all, it seems strange for me to have some sort of platform and not say anything at all.

But then what can I say?

After all, there is not a lot that I can do. There are no magical words that I can say that will rid the world of all of the injustice that plagues us. There is nothing that I can do to get rid the world of the evil that hides too often in the heart of every one of us.

Honestly, it’s hard enough to just handle the day-to-day activities around my house — such as rocking the teething baby to sleep at three o’clock in the morning or settling disputes between the older children while reeling from sleep deprivation.

Solving the world’s problems is going to take a lot more coffee than the world has.

And so, I would like to present to you this picture of the Madonna of Humility.

Madonna of Humility, after Robert Camdin, c. 1450-70. J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, California, United States.
Madonna of Humility, after Robert Camdin, c. 1450-70. J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, California, United States.

The Madonna of Humility is fast becoming one of my favorite depictions of Mary and Jesus. You see, she is the Madonna of Humility because she sits on the floor while she holds Jesus in her arms. That’s what makes her humble — just the very act of her sitting on the floor. She is taking a humble position. When she could be depicted as the Queen that she is and sit on her thrown, she takes the position of sitting on the ground, even while holding Jesus aloft.

And that’s what I feel like.

There’s not much I can do to solve the world’s problems.

There are some things, that I can do, mind you. I can listen — and there are so many wonderful voices to listen right now! I can pray — and trust me, I’ve been praying!

But, as for solving the world’s problems? I can’t do it. Not by myself. I need to sit down on the floor and choose to be humble and to take that lower, humble position and listen and pray.

And, while I take the humble position, I need to hold Jesus up high so that everyone can see Him.

Because I can’t save anyone.

But He can.

And so, if you feel like the world is falling apart around you and are struggling with helplessness as to what you can do, just know that you are not alone! Things are a bit scary right now.

But let’s listen together to the voices that cry out in pain — because God hears the voices of all of His children, and we need to listen to these voices too.

Because these voices are the voices of our brothers and sisters.

And let’s pray for all of each other, that we may be united together in Christ. Because Christ is the Prince of Peace and desires to unite all of us together within Him.

Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis.
Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis.
Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, dona nobis pacem.

Karina Tabone

Karina Tabone is a wife, mother of four, author, blogger, and lover of Christian artwork. She's the author of the Illustrated Rosary series, which pairs every prayer of the Rosary with beautiful religious artwork. She likes also milkshakes, sunshine, and mystery novels. Follow her on Twitter at @illustr_prayer.

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