To be humble let us listen to the revelation of the Holy Ghost which is infallible. “Behold you are nothing, and your work is of that which hath no being.” [Isa. xli, 24] But who is really convinced of his own nothingness?
It is for this reason that in holy Scripture it is said: “Every man is a liar.” [Ps. cxv, 2] For there is no man who from time to time does not entertain some incredible self-esteem, and form some false opinion as to his being, or having, or achieving something more than is possible to his own nothingness.
7. In order to learn what we really are, let us examine our own conscience. And finding therein only our own malice and a capacity to commit every kind of iniquity, shall we not all say to ourselves: “Why dost thou glory in malice, thou that art mighty in iniquity?” [ Ps. li, 1] What hast thou of thine own, my soul, wherewith to glorify thyself—–thou who art a vessel of iniquity, and a sink of sin and vice? Is not all this self-glorification—–whether it be for thy bodily or spiritual gifts that thou buildest a reputation for thyself—–but vanity and deceit?
But in reality a lie dwells essentially in that pride which makes us esteem ourselves above what we are. Whoever regards himself as more than mere nothingness is filled with pride, and is a liar. It is St. Paul’s statement: “If any man think himself to be something whereas he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.” [Gal. vi, 3]
Every time I esteem myself, preferring myself to others, I deceive myself with this self-adulation, and commit an error against truth.
We have within ourselves, in our own experience and feelings, a knowledge of how greatly our frail and fallen nature is inclined to evil. Today we go and confess certain of our faults, making the resolution not to fall into them again, and tomorrow notwithstanding we commit them once
At one moment we make up our minds to acquire a certain virtue, and the next we do just the contrary by falling into the opposite vice. At the time when we make these resolutions of amendment we imagine that our will is firm and strong, but we soon perceive how weak and unreliable it is, for we behave as though we had never purposed amendment at all.
There never has been a case of sin, says St. Augustine, nor ever will be one, nor can ever be one, of which pride was not in some measure the occasion: ” There never can have been, and never can be, and there never shall be any sin without pride.” [Lib. de Salute, xix vel alias]
Charity never grows cold nor fervor tepid except from lack of humility.
Pride is an obstacle harder than steel which hinders the beneficent infusion of grace into the soul.
42. There are two special virtues which the Son of God wished to teach us, and recommended us most earnestly to practice——humility and brotherly love; and it is precisely against these two virtues that the devil wages war the most. But it is enough that he should succeed in conquering humility for love to be overcome at the same time, because, as St. Augustine says: “You cannot attain to charity except through humility.” [Enarr. in Ps. cxxx, et serm. 10 de Verb. Dom.]
Pride is always ready to take offense; and with this disposition to resent slights and injuries how is it possible to live in charity? When we find two persons who are prone to disagree, and to whom reconciliation is difficult, we cannot be far wrong in concluding that both are full of pride. Therefore it is obvious that charity cannot exist without humility.
It is for this reason that St. Paul, after having exhorted Christians to brotherly love, advises them at the same time to be humble: “But in humility let each esteem others better than themselves,” [Phil. ii, 3] for well he knew that brotherly love cannot endure without humility; for where pride exists there will also arise contentions, quarreling and strife: “Among the proud there are always contentions.” [Prov. xiii, 10]
129. Do you forget your own nothingness? Have you any self-esteem? If such be the case you are a seducer, a deceiver of your own self, because, as St. Paul says: Whoever believes himself to be something “deceiveth himself.” [Gal. vi, 3] Do you delight and glory in your knowledge, your power, your riches, or in some other gift natural or moral? Remember the word God spoke by the Prophet Jeremiah: “Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, and let not the strong man glory in his strength, and let not the rich man glory in his riches.” [Jer. i, 23]
Are you careful in speaking not to say anything in your own praise, or anything that might cause you to be praised by others, not to appear learned, wise or spiritual, ostentatiously displaying your personal advantages or those that belong to your family? It is easy in these things for you to be dominated by pride, and holy Tobias warns us, saying: “Never suffer pride to reign in thy mind or in thy words.” [Tob. iv,14]
But pride may even insinuate itself into this very contempt of praise, as St. Augustine says: “A man is often foolishly proud of his own foolish contempt of himself.” [Lib.10]
Adulation is always pernicious, whether we adulate ourselves or others.
SAINT THOMAS [2a 2æ, qu. clxii, art. 1] defines pride as an inordinate affection against right reason, by which man esteems himself and desires to be esteemed by others above that which he really is; and as this affection is opposed to right reasoning, it is in direct opposition to the virtue of humility.
Pride holds the first place among the sins, transcending them all, the king of vices which includes in his cortège all the other vices, therefore it is called in Holy Scripture: “The root of all evil,” [Tim. vi, 10] “The beginning of all sin.” [Ecclus x, 15] because as the root of the tree is hidden under the earth and sends all its strength up into the branches, so pride remains hidden in the heart and secretly influences every sin through its action. opposing and directing our own will against the will of God.
Other vices are to be feared only when we are disposed to evil; but pride, says St. Augustine, insinuates itself even when we are trying to do good. “Other vices are to be feared in sins, pride is to be feared even in good deeds.” [Epist. cxviii] And Saint Isidore says: “Pride is worse than every other vice from the fact that it springs even from virtue and its guilt is less felt.” [Lib. de Summ. Bono]
3) Because after having fought against and overcome the other vices we may justly rejoice, but as soon as we begin to rejoice that we have triumphed over pride it triumphs over us, and becomes victorious over us in that very act for which we are praising ourselves for conquering it. St. Augustine says: “When a man rejoices that he has overcome pride, he lifts up his head for very joy and says: Behold, I triumph thus because thou triumphest.” [Aug., Lib. de Nat. et Gr. cap. xxvii]
4) Because if the other vices are of quick growth, we can also rid ourselves of them quickly; but pride is the first vice we learn, and it is also the last to leave us as St. Augustine says: [Enarr. 2 in Ps. cxviii] “For those who are returning to God, pride is the last thing to be overcome, as it was the first cause of their leaving God.”
(6) Because pride is the characteristic and most significant sign of the reprobate, as St. Gregory says: “Pride is the most manifest sign of the lost.” [Lib. 34. Mor. cxviii]
(7) Because the other vices are easily recognizable, and therefore it is easy to hate them and to amend; but pride is a vice that is not so easily known because it goes masked and disguised in many forms, even putting on the semblance of virtue and the very appearance of humility; thus being a hidden vice it is less easy to escape from it, as is taught in the maxim of St. Ambrose: [Epist. 82] “Hidden things are more difficult to avoid than things known.”
It is St. Thomas himself who will convince you of this. You can learn truth in two ways, that is by the intellect and by the affections. The proud man does not know it by his intellect, because God hides it from him, as Christ said: “Thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent”; [Matt. xi, 25] and still less will he know it with his affection, because no one who takes pleasure in vanity can take pleasure in truth. “When the proud delight in their own excellence,” explains St. Augustine, “they recede from the excellence of truth.” [D. Th. 2a 2æ, qu. clxii, art. 3]
Do you wish to have an idea of what that humility is which is a true virtue? The soul is truly humble when it recognizes that its true position in the order of nature or of grace is entirely dependent on the power, providence and mercy of God; so that finding in itself nothing but what is of God, it appropriates to itself only its own nothingness, and abiding in its nothingness it places itself on the level of all other creatures without raising itself in any way above them. It annihilates itself before God, not so as to remain in an otiose inactivity, but seeking rather to glorify Him continually, conforming with exact obedience to His laws and with perfect submission to His will.
Humility has two eyes: with one we recognize our own misery so as not to attribute to ourselves anything but our nothingness; with the other we recognize our duty to work and to attribute everything to God, referring all things to Him: “Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but to Thy name give glory.” [Ps. cxiii, 1]
The truly humble man considers that whatever is good to his material or spiritual nature is like unto the streams that have come originally from the sea and must eventually return to the sea; and therefore he is always careful to render to God all that he has received from God, and neither prays nor loves nor desires anything except that in all things the name of God be sanctified: “Hallowed be Thy name.” [Matt. vi, 9]
123. The humility of knowledge consists in recognizing and holding ourselves in our inmost soul to be inferior to all, and that is why Jesus Christ advises us in His gospel to take the lowest place: “Sit down in the lowest place.” [Luke xiv, 10] He does not tell us to sit down in a place in the middle, nor in one of the last, but in the last; that is we ought to have such an opinion of ourselves that we must esteem ourselves inferior to all, as St. Bernard exclaims: “That thou shouldst take thy seat alone and least of all, not only not putting thyself before others, but not even daring to compare thyself with others.” [Serm. 37 in Cant.]
The reason is that you do not know but that those whom you deem inferior to yourself, and above whom you exalt yourself, may not be far more dear to God, and be placed hereafter at the right hand of the Highest.
The truly humble man believes that everyone is better than himself, and that he is the worst of all. But are you really humble like this in your own opinion? You easily compare yourself with this one and that one, but to how many do you not prefer yourself with the pride of the Pharisee: “I am not as the rest of men.” [Luke xviii, 11] When you prefer yourself to others it often seems as if you speak with a certain humility and modesty, saying: By the grace of God I have not the vices of such an one: By the grace of God I have not committed so many grievous sins as such an one. But is it really true that you recognize that you owe all this to the grace of God, and that you give Him the glory rather than to yourself? If you esteem yourself more highly than such an one, and if he in his turn esteems himself inferior to you, he is therefore humbler than you, and for that reason better.(Fr. Cajetan Mary da Bergamo.)
Cajetan Mary da Bergamo – (1739)
Humility makes a man peaceable among brethren, fruitful in well-doing, cheerful in suffering, and constant in holy walking. Humility fits for the highest services we owe to Christ, and yet will not neglect the lowest service to the meanest saint (Joh 13:5). Humility can feed upon the meanest dish, and yet it is maintained by the choicest delicates,[such] as God, Christ, and glory. Humility will make a man bless him that curses him and pray for those that persecute him (Mat 5:44). A humble heart is a habitation for God, a scholar for Christ, a companion of angels, a preserver of grace, and a fitter for glory. Humility is the nurse of our graces, the preserver of our mercies, and the great promoter of holy duties. Humility cannot find three things on this side [of] heaven: it cannot find fullness in the creature, sweetness in sin, or life in an ordinance without Christ. A humble soul always finds three things on this side [of] heaven: the soul to be empty, Christ to be full, and every mercy and duty to be sweet wherein God is enjoyed. Humility can weep over other men’s weaknesses, and joy and rejoice over their graces. Humility will make a man quiet and contented in the meanest condition, and it will preserve a man from envying other men’s prosperous condition (1Th 1:2-3). Humility honors those that are strong in grace, and puts two hands under those that are weak in grace. Humility makes a man richer than other men, and it makes a man judge himself the poorest among men (Eph 3:8). Humility will see much good abroad when it can see but little at home.Ah, Christian! Though faith be the champion of grace, and love the nurse of grace, yet humility is the beautifier of grace. It casts a general glory upon all the graces in the soul. Ah, did Christians more abound in humility, they would be less bitter, froward, and sour; they would be more gentle, meek, and sweet in their spirits and practices. Humility will make a man have high thoughts of others and low thoughts of [himself]. It will make a man see much glory and excellency in others, and much baseness and sinfulness in [himself]. It will make a man see others rich and himself poor, others strong and himself weak, others wise and himself foolish. Humility will make a man excellent at covering others’ infirmities, at recording their gracious services, and at delighting in their graces. It makes a man joy in every light that outshines his own and every wind that blows others good. Humility is better at believing than it is at questioning other men’s happiness. “I judge,” saith a humble soul, “it is well with these Christians now, but it will be far better with them hereafter. They are now upon the borders of the New Jerusalem, and it will be but as a day before they slide into Jerusalem.” A humble soul is more willing to say, “Heaven is that man’s [more] than mine; and Christ is that Christian’s [more] than mine; and God is their God in covenant [more] than mine.” Ah, were Christians more humble, there would be less fire and more love among them than now is.
Humility is the attitude of the creature in presence of his Creator, and the way of acting which result from such an attitude.
Pride is the excessive desire of our own excellence.
Love (Charity) is the greatest of the virtues; Love immediately unite us with God. But the main obstacle in us to the acquisition of Love is pride.
We either Love God more than ourself or we Love ourself more than God.
Two things hinder the growth of Love:
a) excessive care for the things of this world,
Humility attacks those two factors both simultaneously.
The really humble has so forgotten himself that it never occurs to him to speak of himself at all. Profession of humility, are the very cream, the very essence of pride. The attempt to avoid pride will not justify lies.
Obsequiousness and servility have no place in obedience. but they have nothing in common with true humility.
Humility is a virtue of the strong, a virtue that regards truth.
Servility is a weakness that cause a men to belittle himself by submitting to another man.
For one man is as good as another, apart from the authority that has from God.
Servility debase a man, but obedience based on Humility elevates him, for it liberates him of such a fetters as human respect, the desire to please, the timidity that is weakness, making him dependent on God alone.
If anyone needs Humility more than another, is the man of strong personality and conviction. A strong willed person will tend to identified God will with his own. He will interpret obedience in a way congenial to his own ideas and outlook. The fundamental lack is true self-abnegation , because we love ourself too much and do not want to obey.
The Humble man is the only one fit for authority: he alone will always have God ‘s rights and his own duty before his eyes, and so will never fail those under his charge. He will realize that he has been given authority in order that he may serve those over whom he presides. He will not make the exercise of obedience a burden by his own short-coming, nor condone wrong doing by his weakness and indecision. He will not fear to speak out boldly and decisively if there be need, remember that the Shepherd is responsible for the sheep. He will not seek special privilege nor let the image of God in him be dimmed for others by pompousness and egoism. He will not arrogate to himself an authority that is not his.
Only Humility will give that purity of intention that is so necessary, because it alone frees a man from all ambitions and make truly disinterested.
Mother Theresa : Honour itself is lost by seeking it, especially in desiring high post of honour for there is no position in the world which so effectively destroy perfection…
Our honour ought to consist in serving God.
Is not merely that power corrupts we are corrupt already without it.
To be humble in abjection is nothing very great; but to be humble in the mists of honours it’s a rare and great virtue indeed.
Holiness does not consist merely in avoiding the greater sin but in coming to the closest union with God.
Humility is essentially reverence for God and his works.
Providence brings us to himself by the circumstances of our lives. Among these circumstances the most important is failure. Failure is an unpleasant word and a more unpleasant reality. The ego flees from it. So does the world. But God uses it in our lives with a definite purpose. If it endured aright it has a transforming effect on us that few other experiences have. Failure will get rid of pride and self sufficiency.
If the armour of our pride is to be pierced, if the subtlety of our ego is to be defeated, if the self is to be left completely naked and exposed in his native helplessness, failure is needed. Not only that when it comes we must not be discouraged by it, but see in it the loving hand of God freeing us from the prison of our self sufficiency. God will use failure to bring about a definite condition of soul in us which can hardly be obtained by any other means.
God has given us this life for one purpose that is to prepare for the vision of him hereafter.
(Fr. Nivard Kinsella)
I can tell whether I have a spiritual or material focus by:
1) How I act when I have a conflict of interest or are in competition with someone else
2) How content I am with GOD’s plan with my life, no matter what GOD’s plan is for others
3) How I react to others who hinder me from attaining my own desires.
The Spirit of God, will not and cannot reside in a heart that is not humble (pride is the cause of all sins). In order for the nature of Jesus Christ to came alive in us something in us must first die …our pride.
Humble: To destroy the power of independence.
Pride and faith are irreconcilably at variance, we shall learn that faith and humility are at root one, and that we never can have more of true faith than we have of true humility.
Humility is the blossom of which death to self, is the perfect fruit.
Humility must lead us to die to self.
Humility is one of the chief and the highest graces ; one of the most difficult of attainment ; one to which our first and chiefest efforts ought to be directed.
Pride is ours, and rules in us with such terrible power, because it is ourself, our very nature. Humility must be ours in the same way ; it must be our very self, our very nature.
The only humility that is really ours is not that which we try to show before God in prayer, but that which we carry with us, and carry out, in our ordinary conduct ; the insignificances of daily life are the importances and the tests of eternity, because they prove what really is the spirit that possesses us.
Humility before God is nothing if not proved in humility before men. The humble man feels no jealousy or envy.
Pride that makes faith impossible. ” How can ye believe, which receive glory from one another” (John 5 :44).
As we see how in their very nature pride and faith are irreconcilably at variance, we shall learn that faith and humility are at the root one, and that we can never have of true faith than we have of true humility.
We need only think for a moment what faith is. Is it not the confession of nothingness and helplessness, the surrender and the waiting to to let God work? Is it not in itself the most humbling thing there can be,—the acceptance of our place as dependents, who can claim or get or do nothing but what grace bestows .
Humility is simply the disposition which prepares the soul for living on trust. And every, even the most secret breathing of pride, in self-seeking, self-will, self-confidence, or self-exaltation, is just the strengthening of that self which cannot enter the kingdom, or possess the things of the kingdom, because it refuses to allow God to be what He is and must be there—the All in All.
Accept every humiliation, look upon every fellow-man who tries or vexes you, as a means of grace to humble you. Use every opportunity of humbling yourself before your fellow-men as a help to abide humble before God.
Every Christian virtually passes through these two stages in his pursuit of humility. In the first he fears and flees and seeks deliverance from all that can humble him. He has not yet learnt to seek humility at any cost. He has accepted the command to be humble, and seeks to obey it, though only to find how utterly he fails.
He prays for humility, at times very earnestly ; but in his secret heart he prays more, if not in word, then in wish, to be kept from the very things that will make him humble.
In his pursuit of it, and his prayer for it, there is still somewhat of a sense of burden and of bondage ; to humble himself has not yet become the spontaneous expression of a life and a nature that is essentially humble. It has not yet become his joy and only pleasure. He cannot yet say, ‘ Most gladly do I glory in weakness, I take pleasure in whatever humbles me.’
Jesus calls us to be servants of one another, and that, as we accept it heartily, this service too will be a most blessed one, a new and fuller liberty too from sin and self.
At first it may appear hard; this is only because of the pride which still counts itself something. If once we learn that to be nothing before God is the glory of the creature, the spirit of Jesus, the joy of heaven, we shall welcome with our whole heart the discipline we may have in serving even those who try to vex us.
Humility before God is nothing if not proved in humility before men.
It is even so in the teaching of Paul. To the Romans He writes: “In honor preferring one another”; “Set not your mind on high things, but condescend to those that are lowly.” “Be not wise in your own conceit.” To the Corinthians: “Love,” and there is no love without humility as its root, “vaunts not itself, is not puffed up, seeks not its own, is not provoked.” To the Galatians: “Through love be servants one of another. Let us not be desirous of vainglory, provoking one another, envying one another.” To the Ephesians, immediately after the three wonderful chapters on the heavenly life: “Therefore, walk with all lowliness and meekness, with long-suffering, forbearing one another in love”; “Giving thanks always, subjecting yourselves one to another in the fear of Christ.” To the Philippians: “Doing nothing through faction or vainglory, but in lowliness of mind, each counting other better than himself. Have the mind in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant, and humbled Himself.” And to the Colossians: “Put on a heart of compassion,
kindness, humility, meekness, long-suffering, forbearing one another, and forgiving each other, even as the Lord forgave you.” It is in our relation to one another, in our treatment of one another, that the true lowliness of mind and the heart of humility are to be seen. Our humility before God has no value, but as it prepares us to reveal the humility of Jesus to our fellow-men. Let us study humility in daily life in the light of these words.
The humble man seeks at all times to act up to the rule, “In honor preferring one another; Servants one of another; Each counting others better than himself Subjecting yourselves one to another.” The question is often asked, how we can count others better than ourselves, when we see that they are far below us in wisdom and in holiness, in natural gifts, or in grace received. The question proves at once how little we understand what real lowliness of mind is. True humility comes when, in the light of God, we have seen ourselves to be nothing, have consented to part with and cast away self, to let God be all. The soul that has done this, and can say, So have I lost myself in finding You, no longer compares itself with others. It has given up forever every thought of self in God’s presence; it meets its fellow-men as one who is nothing, and seeks nothing for itself; who is a servant of God, and for His sake a servant of all. A faithful servant may be wiser than the master, and yet retain the true spirit and posture of the servant. The humble man looks upon every, the feeblest and unworthiest, child of God, and honors him and prefers him in honor as the son of a King. The spirit of Him who washed the disciples’ feet, makes it a joy to us to be indeed the least, to be servants one of another.
The humble man feels no jealousy or envy. He can praise God when others are preferred and blessed before him. He can bear to hear others praised and himself forgotten, because in God’s presence he has learnt to say with Paul, “I am nothing.” He has received the spirit of Jesus, who pleased not Himself, and sought not His own honor, as the spirit of his life.
Amid what are considered the temptations to impatience and touchiness, to hard thoughts and sharp words, which come from the failings and sins of fellow Christians, the humble man carries the oft-repeated injunction in his heart, and shows it in his life, “Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, even as the Lord forgave you.” He has learnt that in putting on the Lord Jesus he has put on the heart of compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and long-suffering. Jesus has taken the place of self, and it is not an impossibility to forgive as Jesus forgave. His humility does not consist merely in thoughts or words of self-depreciation, but, as Paul puts it, in “a heart of humility.”
In the creature, humility is the one thing needed to allow God’s holiness to dwell in him and shine through him. The chief mark of counterfeit holiness is its lack of humility.
Humility is nothing but the disappearance of self in the vision that God is all.
The holiest will be the humblest.
There is no pride so dangerous, because none so subtle and insidious, as the pride of holiness.
Pride and faith are irreconcilably at variance, we shall learn that faith and humility are at root one, and that we never can have more of true faith than we have of true humility.
Faith is not the confession of nothingness and helplessness, the surrender and the waiting to let God work? Humility is simply the disposition which prepares the soul for living on trust.
Pride renders faith impossible.
L’Umilta e la Verita’ coincidono, la Verita’ va cercata nell’ Umilta’ (Angelo Piai)