The Archbishop of New Orleans celebrated Mass at the seminary recently and preached a fantastic homily.
The refrain of his homily was, ‘I don’t know.’
Socratic Prayer Method
It reminded me of Socrates’ famous learnèd ignorance, the wisdom to know what you don’t know, the humility to freely admit it, and the wonder to want to learn from those who do. When Socrates met a man famed for his learning, he discovered that this man’s arrogance gave Socrates a slight edge — ‘It seems,’ Socrates said, ‘that I am wiser than he is to this small extent, that I do not think I know what I do not know.’
The Archbishop said we must approach God first, and ever after that, by heartily confessing our ignorance, asking Him to illumine our blind spots, and to inflame our desire to learn. Only then can we be genuinely formed by His grace.
‘Especially,’ he said, ‘I pray each day that God inform me of my weaknesses so that these weaknesses can serve my ministry and not hinder it.’
That’s, of course, the way of humility, and to pray daily as Archbishop does is, in my estimation, a very daring form of humility. In fact, I have found again and again that God answers this particular prayer with stunningly swift speed.
He seems to dig the virtue of humility.