Friday, February 4, 2011

Humility Explained and Lived Out

I recently posted some thoughts on Eucharist in the Catholic context, called Real Presence, about what it means to us, and what it meant to the early Fathers of the Church.  Father Tim Moyle of Where the Rubber Hits the Road picked it up, and posted a link to it.  It then begat several comments over there, almost all of them from Small Town Guy, a man from BC, who regularly criticises the Catholic Church over at that blog.

The comments resulted in some dialogue between Father Tim and STG, and an act of humility on the part of STG, for which I want to give him a shout out.  It was a gracious and gratuitous act on his behalf, and will do more to improve communications than all the pontificating and criticism that has preceded it over the last several months.

Humility is an underrated virtue, held by some to be of great value, and poo pooed by others as contrary to this world we live in.  The latter on its own should be sufficient to indicate that humility has great merit.  Humility requires a great deal of faith and submission to the Divine Will, something that we, even and often more so Christians, seem to avoid through our spiritual arrogance, which is, of course, the diametric opposite of humility.

I came across the writings of the founder of Opus Dei, a highly regarded Catholic organisation, a man who was canonized in October 2002.  These thoughts of his of themselves are not biblical quotations, but are prudent and not inconsistent with biblical teachings.  Here then are some thoughts on what humility does not look like from the writings of Saint Josemaria Escriva:

The Seventeen Evidences of a Lack of Humility

1. To think that what one says or does is better than what others say or do
2. To always to want to get your own way
3. To argue with stubbornness and bad manners whether you are right or wrong
4. To give your opinion when it has not been requested or when charity does not demand it
5. To look down on another’s point of view
6. Not to look on your gifts and abilities as lent
7. Not to recognize that you are unworthy of all honors and esteem, not even of the earth you walk on and things you possess
8. To use yourself as an example in conversations
9. To speak badly of yourself so that others will think well of you or contradict you
10. To excuse yourself when you are corrected
11. To hide humiliating faults from your spiritual director, so that he will not change the impression he has of you
12. To take pleasure in praise and compliments
13. To be saddened because others are held in higher esteem
14. To refuse to perform inferior tasks
15. To seek to stand out
16. To refer in conversation to your honesty, genius, dexterity, or professional prestige
17. To be ashamed because you lack certain goods
One could sum up humility simply to say: "If you think you are, you aren't."  When we think of men and women, who in their commitment to follow Christ, have led exemplary lives or portions thereof, we can see in them true humility, the desire to do and see done the will of God, at any cost.  What could be of higher value than to grow smaller, as He grows bigger in us?

Humility is a journey, a journey of faith, that leads us to the foot of the Cross, where we will meet Him face to face.

May we all seek to be humble servants of the Master.  Thank you STG for showing us the way.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nice Post. Humility is a very important virtue for us all to try and acquire. St. Josemaria is a good one to learn about humilty from.