Humility in our relation with God.The spirit of faith tells the humble that Providence governs atoms as well as astral bodies,traces the paths of human lives as well as those of nations.Every event has been forseen and ordered by God.The humble man suffers without complaint.He admits that God has every right to use others to punish him.He recalls his faults and thinks that perhaps these sufferings are a just punishment and a remedy. God’s acts of kindness are everyday occurences.One gets used to them as if they just happened, without a controlling thought.Sometimes an unmistakable special favour makes us see God’s goodness.We are like little children,surrounded by every loving care,but never giving a thought to the author of it.
Humility in our relation with fellowmen.
It is easy to humiliate ourselves before God.But it is almost heroic to be humble before one’s neighbour. This is the touchstone of humility.Only the humble soul is just and reasonable,gentle and patient.Harshness and lack of consideration betray an absence of humility.The love that we bear those for whom we naturally feel aversion,as a sign given by our Lord by which we recognize that we love him.Humility represses the tendency to make ourselves the equals to those in authority.The humble will not dwell on the faults of superiors,which might make their authority hard to bear, even intolerable,from a human point of view.
Humility towards equals and inferiors.
The soul that has a sense of greatness of God and his own lowliness,avoids claiming equality with any one.He holds his equals superior to him in some respects.He has an instinct to discover natural and spiritual advantages in his equals,and takes the lowest place among them.He is ready to defer to their opinions,to respect their judgements and wishes.”Never think that you have made any progress till you look upon yourself as inferior to all.”(Imitation).The humble man does not forget his worthlessness,when he has to exercise his authority.Jesus came “not to be ministered unto, but to minister.” When he commands, he is not imperious,remembering our Lord’s words, “He that is greatest among you shall be your servants” (Mathew 23:11) He never makes public or private reproofs which might hurt anyone’s feelings.
Exterior practice of humility.
St.Francis de Sales says,”The exterior acts are not humility, but they are of great use to it:they are the rind of this virtue and protect the fruit.” Superficial minds do not realize the influence of the physical on the moral.Things enter us by the senses.A constant attitude of humility can take us far in this virtue there is a correlation between the physical and the moral,by a prudent restraint of my movements,voice, eyes etc.the soul can receive an ingression of humility.Only the truly humble soul always strives to have a humble bearing.An exterior devoid of humility is incompatible with interior virtue.
God has made everything for his glory.
Otherwise God would not be God,because he would be subordinate to an end other than himself.In contemplating himself.He holds that he merits infinite glory on account of the plenitude of his being and the ocean of his perfections.God cannot, without ceasing to be God,tolerate that his glory be attributed to another than himself.In all we do, we should ascribe to God what his due,not attributing more than our share to ourselves.God makes use of temptations to show us the abyss of our nothingness and to insure that all glory be ascribed to himself alone,for the graces which he bestows on us.
As all the natural and supernatural qualities in us come from God, all glory is due to him.When an artist creates a masterpiece,it is he,and not the canvas,that is to be praised.If we do not fall into certain sins,we owe it to the grace of God.Since humility is co-terminus with truth,if God has given us some skill,physical or mental,it would be a discourtesy to God to pretend that we do not have it.All the praise for it is really due to God.God alone has,strictly speaking, the right to say “I”. God alone exists of himself ;and everything else exists only by His will,and for him.Everything else has no value whatever,but the value he gives all.
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