St. Bernard was once asked what
virtue he would suggest to practice. The saint responded: “humility, and
humility, and once again humility.” In
heaven God is surrounded by His friends, the saints. In hell, the damned live
in company with Satan and the devils.
All of the saints are humble. The devil and the damned are proud. To make a long story short: we should all
long to practice virtue, but in a very special way the virtue of HUMILITY! Following is a short essay on ten concrete
ways that all of us can strive to attain and to practice the all-important
virtue of humility.
TEN WAYS THAT WE CAN GROW IN THIS
Beg for the grace to grow in
humility. Be a beggar and implore the Lord for humility!
DEFINITION: “Humility is a quality by which a person
considering his own defects has a lowly opinion of himself and willingly
submits himself to God and to others for God’s sake.” St. Bernard defines it: “A virtue by which a
man knowing himself as he truly is abases himself.” These definitions coincide
with that given by St. Thomas: “The virtue of humility,” he says, “Consists in
keeping oneself within one’s bounds, not reaching out to things above one, but
submitting to one’s superior.” (Taken from the Catholic Encyclopedia)
Recognize who you are and where you came from.
St. Catherine of Siena would say, “God is all and I am nothing.” Call to mind that once you did not exist and
God through His infinite love created you and brought you into existence.
Learn this short but efficacious prayer for humility:
“Jesus meek and humble of heart make my heart like unto thine.”
Recognize that the royal path to
humility is through humiliations. God
chooses certain humiliations to keep us humble. The following
is a list of possible humiliations that
God could allow to visit us:
a.) Being cut off in traffic and
b.) Interrupted and cut off during a
Your Birthday or Anniversary is forgotten by a
loved one who should have known better!
d.) A dear friend of yours ignores
you; does not take you into account.
e.) CORRECTION. Somebody pulls you
aside and corrects one of your defects.
CORRECTION. In Public, somebody corrects you in front of
a group of people!
g.) Mom works hard giving time, effort and energy to preparing a good family
meal and instead of gratitude she receives either indifference or a criticism
on her cooking!
h.) BANQUET/PARTY. You are invited and given the last place in
the banquet hall near the door or the bathroom.
WEDDING. You were not even invited to the wedding by
your sister or by your cousin!
In a Company meeting everybody is
mentioned and given a reward for their work and effort, except you.
k.) PROMOTION. A new worker is given a
promotion and raise in salary, and you have not, even though you have been
working there for more than ten years!
SPORTS. You simply lose the game after all the hard
EXAM. Failed it after hours of study!
HUMILIATIONS can make us “Better of
bitter”. If we do not see them in the
light of faith suffering as well as humiliations can be a source of bitterness.
However, if seen in the light of faith they can make us better and even more
MEDITATE UPON THE EXAMPLE OF JESUS: 3 ASPECTS
OF HIS LIFE…
INCARNATION. The Son of God becoming man was indeed an
incredible humiliation. God lowered Himself to become a man!
PASSION, SUFFERING, AND DEATH. Just going through any element of His
Passion we contemplate the depths of true humility of the Son of God. Go back
and view the movie of the Passion of the Christ by Mel Gibson and you will
see. Especially you might focus on His
crowning with thorns.
JESUS’ PRESENCE IN THE MASS AND THE
EUCHARIST. Jesus said that He would be
with us always even until the end of the time.
This is true in His Mystical Body the Church, but in a very special way
in the Mass and the Eucharist. Related
to humility, many do not even go to Mass thereby ignoring the King of Kings.
Worse yet, there are many Catholics who receive Him who should not receive Him
in Holy Communion thereby committing a sacrilege, eating and drinking to their
own condemnation. ( Read I Corinthians 11). By this they are crucifying Jesus
over and over again.
THE KEY FOR US TO GROW IN
HUMILITY. Even though this is extremely
difficult, when the humiliations come and they indeed will come, then to accept
them as a blessing from God. If when one
of these many humiliations comes to visit us we can accept them and unite them
to Jesus’ humiliations with resignation and conformity, then these humiliations
make us better rather than bitter and we grow in the virtue of humility. The grace of God is operative but we must be
docile and respond to it.
HEAVEN AND HELL. In hell are only the proud, arrogant,
obnoxious and self-sufficient. In Heaven, with Jesus and Mary (true models in
all virtues) are those who were humble.
Saints were humble and we are called to imitate the saints especially in
this virtue. Saints recognize that all the good they can do comes from God;
they also admit the evil is of their own doing.
10. MARY. After Jesus Mary is the greatest model of
humility in the world. In two places we see her profound humility. 1) Her
“Fiat” or consent to God to be the Mother of God: “Behold I am the handmaid
(servant) of the Lord, may it be done to me according to your will.” 2) Her
Magnficat, in which she says, “He has looked upon the lowliness (or humility)
of his handmaid…. He has cast down the mighty from their thrones and has lifted
up the lowly…” May Our Lady grant us
the grace to turn our humiliations into signs of true victory. “Jesus meek and humble of heart, make my
heart like unto thine.”