I never used to think that I was proud. That was until a good friend pointed out to me that in actual fact, I was very proud indeed. I was perplexed by this observation, and could not see how I had let pride get the better of me. I am forever thankful though for this good counsel, as in the years since I have been more readily able to see myself “puffing up”.
Pride is a very dangerous sin. One that none of us is immune to. Pride is ugly.
On the other hand to be humble is to be like Our Lord Himself. He said “Shoulder my yoke and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:29) Jesus who was so humble, so humiliated teaches us much. St Paul writes “In your minds you must be the same as Christ Jesus: His state was divine, yet he did not cling to his equality with God but emptied himself to assume the condition of a slave, and became as men are; and being as all men are, he was humbler yet, even to accepting death, death on a cross.” (Philippians 2:5-8)
Where pride divides, humility unites. Where pride hurts others, humility heals. Where pride holds grudges, humility forgives.
Becoming humble is a daily struggle. With every new interaction with another, every new situation, every thought that passes through the mind, pride must be stamped out quickly.
Humility and obedience are the two virtues that I see in the saints. They are the two virtues Jesus shows us in His ultimate sacrifice for our transgressions. They are the two main virtues that the Saints seem to always have in abundance.
These 40 days of prayer, fasting and almsgiving are a great time to stamp out pride in our lives and to learn obedience, forgiveness and just how “little” we are. For it is only through God that we have life. It is only through God that we have the ability to do anything at all.
To help us all on our Road towards Humility here are some great pearls of wisdom from the Saints.
“If I love Jesus, I ought to resemble Him. If I love Jesus, I ought to love what He loves, what He prefers to all else: humility.” St Peter Julian Eymard (1811-1868)
“You aspire to great things? Begin with little ones. You desire to erect a very high building? Think first of the foundation of humility. The higher one intends it, the deeper must the foundations be laid.” St Augustine (354-430)
“If we possessed every virtue, but lacked humility, those virtues would be without root and would not last.” St Vincent de Paul (1580-1660)
“Believe that others are better than you in the depths of their souls, although outwardly you may appear better than they.” St Augustine (354-430)
“We must never glance at what is good in ourselves, much less ponder over it, but we should search out what is wrong and what is lacking. This is an excellent way of remaining humble.” St Vincent de Paul (1580-1660)
“That man is truly humble who converts humiliation into humility.” St Bernard (1090-1153)
“Be careful to give no credit to yourself for anything; if you do, you are stealing from God, to whom alone every good thing is due.” St Vincent de Paul (1580-1660)