Have mercy on me, O God, according to your great mercy; and according to your abundant compassions blot out my transgression. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin! For I know my transgression, and my sin is ever before me.” (Ps 50/51: 1-3)

Is it really healthy, to make myself so “small” before God? Doesn’t my world also become small when I concentrate on “negative” things, like having “my sin ever before me,” rather than asking for more “positive” things, like more success and more pleasure?

Well, no. Humility actually makes my world bigger, by making me and my needs smaller. Because God’s great mercy tends to surprise me, when I feel least “entitled” to it. “Humility,” as G. K. Chesterton writes, “was largely meant as a restraint upon the arrogance and infinity of the appetite of man. He was always outstripping his mercies with his own newly invented needs. His very power of enjoyment destroyed half his joys. By asking for pleasure, he lost the chief pleasure; for the chief pleasure is surprise.”

So let me let God surprise me today, as only He can, in His great mercy, while I concentrate on the “small” disorders on my side of the street. “For I know my transgression, and my sin is ever before me.”

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