HUMILITY: ITS EFFECTS, THE MEANS TO GROW IN THIS VIRTUE AND SIGNS OF LACK OF HUMILITY
In the past few days, we had 3 posts referring to the virtue of humility (see “Pride:Know thy enemy,” “The Humility of Jesus,” “Know thyself”). This last post will center on its effects and the means to grow in this virtue.
The EFFECTS OF HUMILITY are opposed to those of pride.
- Humility leads ONE TO FORGET HIMSELF AND THINK OF OTHERS, to put GOD AND OTHERS as the CENTER HIS LIFE. Pride, on the other hand, tends one to put his “I” as the center of his life, thus living egoistically for himself. In some cases, the proud person advertently and willingly removes God from his life, to avoid submitting himself to another other than his own will.
- A humble person REFERS ALL THE GLORY TO GOD BECAUSE HE HAS A TRUE KNOWLEDGE OF HIMSELF: his miseries, his littleness and his errors…all that he has and possesses come from God and thereby sees himself undeserving of praise and channels all praises to whom they really belong: God. As St. Josemaria said: “The more I am exalted, Jesus, the more I want you to humble me in my heart, showing me what I have been, and what I will be if you leave me” (The Way, no. 591).
- A humble person knows how to SEE AND APPRECIATE THE VIRTUES OF OTHERS AND LEARNS FROM THEM. Pride, on the other hand, leads to envy, insecurity and criticism.
- A humble person ACKNOWLEDGES HIS FAULTS WITHOUT JUSTIFYING HIMSELF; he knows how to ASK PARDON, AND PARDON as well, without bearing grudges, nor humiliating the other.
- He is also GRATEFUL for everything and appreciates the services and help rendered to him by the people around him.
- He has the HABIT OF FORGETTING HIMSELF, thereby making him CAPABLE OF SEEING THE NEEDS OF OTHERS and SERVE them. The proud feels entitled to the services rendered to him and thus, is not grateful.
- Since he knows that WITHOUT GOD, HE CAN DO NOTHING, the humble person KNOWS HOW TO COUNT ON GOD’S HELP and that of OTHER’S AS WELL, and not only on his own strength. He is NOT ASHAMED TO ASK AND RECEIVE HELP FROM OTHERS (his relatives, friends, his doctor, his spiritual director etc.) and ALLOWS HIMSELF TO BE HELPED BY THEM.
HOW THE HUMILITY GROW IN US?
Humility grows when one
- ASKS it from God;
- struggles daily to FORGET HIMSELF and AVOID BEING THE CENTER OF ATTENTION, of conversation etc. He knows how to “hide and disappear (St. Josemaria)”;
- forces himself, overcoming his laziness and love of comfort to SERVE the people around him even if it may mean SACRIFICING oneself;
- ACKNOWLEDGES AND ACCEPTS his qualities, his errors, his virtues, his vices…having a TRUE AND SINCERE KNOWLEDGE OF ONESELF;
- takes advantage of the opportunities to OBEY and surrender his judgment;
- knows how to say SORRY to those whom he offended; knows how to FORGIVE
- ACCEPTS WITH JOY corrections, humiliations, insults, injustices and OFFERS them to Our Lord;
- knows how to LISTEN to others and VALUE THEIR VIRTUES AND QUALITIES
- DOES NOT FEEL DISCOURAGED nor disheartened when he commits a FALL, but BEGINS AGAIN, with the help of God’s grace.
SIGNS OF LACK OF HUMILITY
On the other hand, the SIGNS OF LACK OF HUMILITY, according to St. Josemaria, “Furrow”, n. 263, are as follows:
-Thinking that what you do or say is better than what others do or say;
-Always wanting to get your own way;
-Arguing when you are not right or — when you are — insisting stubbornly or with bad manners;
-Giving your opinion without being asked for it, when charity does not demand you to do so;
-Despising the point of view of others;
-Not being aware that all the gifts and qualities you have are on loan;
-Not acknowledging that you are unworthy of all honour or esteem, even the ground you are treading on or the things you own;
-Mentioning yourself as an example in conversation;
-Speaking badly about yourself, so that they may form a good opinion of you, or contradict you;
-Making excuses when rebuked;
-Hiding some humiliating faults from your director, so that he may not lose the good opinion he has of you;
-Hearing praise with satisfaction, or being glad that others have spoken well of you;
-Being hurt that others are held in greater esteem than you;
-Refusing to carry out menial tasks;
-Seeking or wanting to be singled out;
-Letting drop words of self-praise in conversation, or words that might show your honesty, your wit or skill, your professional prestige … ;
-Being ashamed of not having certain possessions “
Dear friends, as we have said in a previous post, HUMILITY, is the FOUNDATION OF ALL VIRTUES and the DWELLING PLACE OF LOVE. “Only one who truly loves, does not think about himself”, said St. Gregory the Great (Hom 38 super Ev.).
HOLINESS CONSISTS, WITH THE HELP OF GOD’S GRACE, IN LIVING AND IMITATING THE VIRTUES TAUGHT AND LIVED BY OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST. THE ART OF HOLINESS CONSISTS IN EMPTYING ONESELF MORE EACH DAY SO THAT GOD CAN FILL AND OCCUPY ONE’S SOUL: FOR THIS, HUMILITY IS NECESSARY.
LET US THEREFORE STRIVE DAILY TO PRACTICE THIS VIRTUE, with the help of the Virgin Mary, who said: “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden” (Lk 1:46–48).
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KNOW THYSELF. WHY IS HUMILITY IMPORTANT? HUMILITY, THE BASIS OF ALL VIRTUES, THE DWELLING PLACE OF LOVE in http://wp.me/p6k7Mv-1G
PHOTO CREDIT: Enric Monserday Vidal, “Madonna and Child” in https://www.flickr.com/photos/sofi01/6561619697 used only for didactic purposes without intention of infringing any copyright unknown to me.
SUGGESTED FOR MEDITATION:
St. Josemaria, “Furrow”, Chapter on Humility in http://www.escrivaworks.org/book/furrow/contents/8