Thursday, November 10, 2011

Humility?

Q - How do I monitor my pride? I am blessed and do very well in nearly everything I try. I feel that if this keeps up long enough, I might get an ego and begin to think that I am invincible. This is an exaggeration, but I worry that I am not humble enough. I do well in school, volunteer, care about others, etc. I feel that I am trying to do the best I can, but still want to be humbled before God.


A - Good question. But, you are asking the wrong guy. I might have the answers, but do as I say and not as I do. Humility isn't my strength. If you want to know what my strengths are just ask. See I told you I am not humble.


The first step is to get someone to hold you accountable. A good confessor or spiritual director can help here. They act as a kind of spiritual mirror to help you recognize where you are being prideful. Also, pray for humility. This sounds simple, but it can become very difficult if you really mean it.


Humility is not thinking you are no good. Humility is the proper understanding of who God is and who you are in light of who God is. We are given certain gifts and blessings from God, but they are His and are on loan to us. We must recognize our nothingness before God and make sure that we are not crediting ourselves for our giftedness.


There is also a flip-side to pride. That is, we can also think too little of ourselves. When we believe that we are unlovable, unforgivable or no good at all, this is pride as well. We need to guard against it as well.


A proper understanding of who we are would see the beauty that God has put within us, but know it is all because of Him and nothing to do with our own abilities. Christ showed us true humility by becoming one of us. We shouldn't try to then make ourselves into our own god.


Lastly, I recommend you pray this litany of humility any time you feel your pride is flaring up. But, pray it slowly and try to mean every part of it. It is one of the most dangerous and difficult prayers you might pray. Dangerous because if you mean it you must change. Difficult because humility does not come without cost.
LITANY OF HUMILITY
O Jesus! meek and humble of heart, Hear me.
From the desire of being esteemed,
Deliver me, Jesus.

From the desire of being loved...
From the desire of being extolled ...
From the desire of being honored ...
From the desire of being praised ...
From the desire of being preferred to others...
From the desire of being consulted ...
From the desire of being approved ...
From the fear of being humiliated ...
From the fear of being despised...
From the fear of suffering rebukes ...
From the fear of being calumniated ...
From the fear of being forgotten ...
From the fear of being ridiculed ...
From the fear of being wronged ...
From the fear of being suspected ...

That others may be loved more than I,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

That others may be esteemed more than I ...
That, in the opinion of the world,
others may increase and I may decrease ...
That others may be chosen and I set aside ...
That others may be praised and I unnoticed ...
That others may be preferred to me in everything...
That others may become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should…
Some quotes that might help.

  • "The most powerful weapon to conquer the devil is humility. For, as he does not know at all how to employ it, neither does he know how to defend himself from it." -Saint Vincent de Paul 
  • "Humility is the foundation of all the other virtues hence, in the soul in which this virtue does not exist there cannot be any other virtue except in mere appearance."  -Saint Augustine 
  • "You cannot attain to charity except through humility." -St. Augustine 
  •  "God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble" -James 4:6

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