Humility


Humility

“Humility is the various virtues what the chain is in a rosary. Take away the chain and the beads are scattered; remove humility, and all virtues vanish.” -- John Vianney

I wrote this for my love of Our Blessed Mother, who was humility par excellence, that through my words, she would save a soul, not forgetting my own. Our Blessed Lord expressed the importance of humility when He said,

“Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it.”

In other words, one must be like a child to receive the kingdom of God. But what is it like to be a child? What must we think and do? This article will hopefully answer these questions.

St. Augustine said,

“If you should ask me what are the ways of God, I would tell you that the first is humility, the second is humility, and the third is humility. Not that there are no other precepts to give, but if humility does not precede all that we do, our efforts our meaningless.”

The reason is that one cannot have faith without being humble first. To be humble or meek is simply to see things as they truly are without any over-emphasis. We ought to ask, “What am I?” The answer is that I am a human being who desires perfect happiness, but cannot achieve it because of my limitations. I need someone who is above me to give me the power to achieve that goal. Until one sees himself that way, which he truly is, then he cannot have faith.

A child knows he needs a father to guide him to ride a bike, to bring him to school, to give him food to eat, and to survive. Note that those are simple things. We must see that we need our Father as well to give us what we need including the smallest things. We must see ourselves as virtually nothing without Him. If he cannot see himself as a being nothing without Him, then we cannot have faith, that is, if we even have faith, it is meaningless.

How can we see Jesus in the Eucharist in the appearance of bread if we do not humble ourselves? To the proud, he will see the Eucharist as a piece of bread, and that is all. He will never be able to see this is Christ because he thinks he cannot grasp how humble our Lord had to become in order to be present in the appearance of bread. He may know it is Christ, but can he see Him? Can he truly see Christ in that appearance? To see Christ under the appearance of bread, we must know and see that God Himself is humble enough to be under that appearance and if God is humble, and we are less than God, then we must do the same.

If the Almighty and Powerful God does this incredible thing, then how much shall we humble ourselves? The answer is simply to recognize this fact: whatever God does, we must recognize and accept it as true because we are nothing.

St. Francis of Assisi said,

“What is man before God, that he is, and nothing more.”

Humility is nothing more than seeing reality. If a person is not bright, he should not say he is bright. If a person is ugly, then he must see himself as ugly not beautiful. However, if a person is bright, he cannot say, “Oh no, I am not.” This would be false humility since it does not recognize what he truly is. A truly humble person would say that he is good, but this is because of God's gracious love that he is so. He would say, “Every goodness that comes from me, I owe to God.” Sometimes, he becomes so good that he forgets that he owes everything to God. He replaces reality with imagination; that he did this because of his own doing.

When we do not see reality or what they truly are, we are going to have a period of time we call a “dry period.” This is when everything seems meaningless and dry. God permits this to happen so that we must go back to reality and thirst for Him. Just as when we are hungry we desire food, so too God gives us dry times to make us hunger for His love. He would even permit us to fall so that we have the opportunity to see truly what we are.

St. Teresa of Avila said,

“It constantly happens that the Lord permits a soul to fall so that it may grow humbler. When it is honest, and realizes what it has done, and returns, it makes ever-increasing progress in our Lord's service.”

Another factor of humility is to see ourselves as fallible beings. To see ourselves as fallible beings means that we must leave room for error. As Catholics, we must always recognize this as one of the major principles of humility. We can tend to fall away from the faith thinking that what we believe is right even though the Pope and the whole Church disagrees with us. This is what got the heretics especially the Protestants to fall away. This is also what many proud say. The proud say, “You Catholics need a man to interpret the Word of God for you.” Only a humble person can ever be a truly Catholic since he must humble himself to accept Church teaching. One cannot accept Church teaching if he thinks high of himself. He will say to himself, “Why do I need the priests, the Pope, and the Church if I have everything and all I need is God?” The fact is that he does not have everything.

God did not make a purely individual religion, but one of family, and One Body. He commanded us to love God and our neighbors. To love is to submit ourselves for the good of another. One cannot do this if he thinks highly of himself; that he is too good to do this. A faithful Catholic must also have the humility to accept the Church's teachings even if it does not seem right to him. He must see that the Church is greater than he is and that he can err in his thinking. He must not be the judge of Councils, Encyclicals, and Popes, but that the Councils, Encyclicals, and Popes judge him. He must fit into the Church's standards, not that the Church must fit to his.

The benefits of humility are great. For one, he sees the beauty in a lot of things. When one humbles himself like a child, we will wonder at the nature of things: the brightness of the sun, the blue sky, and more specifically, the beauty of the human person. Don't children become amazed by little things such as ants moving? They are amazed at how everything is in order.

So we too, if we become childlike, will see the beauty of simple things. If we are amazed at simple things, how much more will we be amazed when we see Christ in the Eucharist! How much more will we be amazed when we hear His voice when the Gospel is proclaimed! Every second with the Eucharist and every word of the Gospel would be ecstasy for us because of its beauty. And how much more happiness will we attain when we see God face to face in heaven! If we are amazed at a smile of a person, how much more will we be amazed when we see God's smile! 

God love you!

A


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