Empty yourself continually in honor of the Incarnate Word who emptied himself with so much love for you. (Phil. 2:7) Make your commitment to live in the practice of the most sincere, true, and profound humility possible to you. Do so on all occasions, to everyone but especially to God, from whom must come all the blessings of your Institute. Maxims of the Little Institute #3
This seems like an appropriate maxim as we enter into the first week of Lent. This maxim, which based on Paul’s letter to the Philippians, chapter 2, is a touchstone of CSSJ spirituality. The call to self-emptying love is not just something we do for Lent. It is a process that takes a lifetime. Years ago one of the priests at my parish gave a homily about Lent that I’m reminded of each time Lent begins anew. Basically he said that Lent is when we “Live for a Season” in the manner in which we are called to be living our Christian life all through the year.
This is not a negative thing. When Médaille says “empty yourself,” he’s calling us to let go of the inner “clutter” of our ego in order to be free to be filled with God’s love and grace. It’s a letting go that allows us to be completely free, completely human, free to be our best selves, free to be who God calls us to be. Self-emptying love is a life-long prayerful process of coming to know ourselves as God knows us.