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Accepting Help: A Christian Virtue

On that first Christmas, when our Lord Jesus was born in a stable, Mary and Joseph were not able to find a place to stay. They had to be humble enough to ask people for help and to accept their aid and hospitality. They had to give up control and trust God and their neighbor to help them. Asking for help and accepting help are often so difficult for us. We want to be in charge, in control, and we pride ourselves on being self-sufficient. Many of us have been raised with the belief that it is somehow weak or shameful to ask for help. You pull yourself up by your boot straps, tough it out, and solve your own problems. We do not want to be perceived by others as weak or vulnerable. As Christians, many times we are willing to be helpers ourselves. We prefer to be the ones performing the corporal and spiritual works of mercy instead of the ones receiving them from others. It is natural to want to be in control, to be strong and self-reliant. If we look to Jesus as our model, we can see that H0e was strong and often helped other people, but He also allowed them to minister to Him. He gently overcame the protests of John the Baptist and let John baptize Him. He often accepted the hospitality of sinners and tax collectors. The sinful woman ministered to Jesus in a personal, intimate way as she anointed his feet with ointment and dried them with her hair. During His passion, Jesus had to let Simon of Cyrene help Him carry His cross. Our Lord did not have the false pride that isolates and pushes away all offers of assistance. He loved others sometimes by accepting their help. What a beautiful gift we can give to someone simply by allowing him or her to help us. That person is performing a Christian work of mercy and is participating in the healing and saving ministry of Jesus Christ. Whether it’s a medical professional, teacher, counselor, or neighbor, we also minister to them by accepting their help with thanks and good humor. Many times we will not accept until we absolutely have to, and this has been my experience. But once I did ask for and accept the help of other people, I found it to be spiritually freeing. It was relief to admit that I could not do everything by myself and that I could learn from others. That isolating pride is a lonely way of living. To me, it is much easier, more joyful, and more truly Christian to be a friend among friends and a person who can both give and receive help when it is needed. Mary D. is a Catholic member of Alcoholics Anonymous. Copyright ?1997 Arlington Catholic Herald, Inc. All rights reserved.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2016