Jesus was meek and humble of heart (Matthew 11:29). “He emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant, and being made in the likeness of men.” (Philippians 2:7)
St Therese of Avila
According to her, the virtue of humility is neither outward neglect nor inner shyness of the soul, but to know our own abilities and what God can do in us (cf. Relations, 28). A humble person is aware of her God given dignity and can move forward with courage, gratitude and trust in God.
The opposite is what she calls "false point of honour" (Life, 31, 23). In our insecurity we fall into gossip, jealousy and criticism, severely damaging relationships. >>>
Now be on your guard, daughters, against some types of humility given by the devil in which great disquiet is felt about the gravity of our sins. This disturbance can afflict in many ways even to the point of making one give up receiving Communion and practicing private prayer. These things are given up because the devil makes one feel unworthy. . . . The situation gets so bad that the soul thinks God has abandoned it because of what it is; it almost doubts His mercy. . . . Humility does not disturb or disquiet or agitate, however great it may be; it comes with peace, delight, and calm. . . . The pain of genuine humility doesn’t agitate or afflict the soul; rather, this humility expands it and enables it to serve God more. —Saint Teresa of Avila, The Way of Perfection, 39:1-2.
4 Steps to humility
LC Cenacle >>> Sept. 2013
Fr Raniero Cantalamessa: “We must not make the mistake of thinking we have attained humility just because the word of God has led us to discover our nothingness and has taught us that it must show itself in fraternal service. We see the extent to which we have attained humility when the initiative passes from us to others, namely when it is no longer we who recognize our defects and wrongs, but others do so; when we are not only able to tell ourselves the truth, but also gladly let others do so.... (p. 56) In other words, the point we are at in the struggle against pride is seen in the way we react, externally and internally, when we are contradicted, corrected, criticized, or ignored. To claim to kill your pride by striking it yourself, without anyone intervening from outside, is like using your own arm to punish yourself: you will never do yourself any real harm. It is as if a doctor tried to remove a tumor from his own body on his own. -In Love With Christ The Secret of St Francis of Assissi (p.57)
15 aspects of humility, By St Theresa of Calcutta.
1 Speak as little as possible about yourself.
2 Keep busy with your own affairs and not those of others.
3 Avoid curiosity (she is referring to wanting to know things that should not concern you.)
4 Do not interfere in the affairs of others.
5 Accept small irritations with good humor.
6 Do not dwell on the faults of others.
7 Accept censures even if unmerited.
8 Give in to the will of others.
9 Accept insults and injuries.
10 Accept contempt, being forgotten and disregarded.
11 Be courteous and delicate even when provoked by someone.
12 Do not seek to be admired and loved.
13 Do not protect yourself behind your own dignity.
14 Give in, in discussions, even when you are right.
15 Choose always the more difficult task.
“It was pride that changed angels into devils; it is humility that makes men as angels.” —Saint Augustine
St. John Vianney was often harassed by the devil. One day the devil said: “I can do everything you do: I can do your penances, I can imitate you in everything. There is one thing, however, that I cannot do, I cannot imitate you in humility."
St. John Vianney responded, "That is why I defeat you.”
He Will Find Us in Our Needs
This is humility, the path of humility: to feel so marginalized that we need the Salvation of the Lord. He alone saves us, not our observance of the law... In her Canticle Mary does not say she is happy because God was looking to her virginity, to her kindness or to her sweetness – all of them virtues that she possessed – no: because the Lord was looking to her humility, the humility of His servant, her smallness. This is what the Lord looks for. And we must take heed of this wisdom and put ourselves on the margins so that the Lord may find us. He will not find us at the center of our certainties. That is not where the Lord looks. He will find us on the margins, in our sins, in our mistakes, in our need for spiritual healing, for salvation; that is where the Lord will find us. Christian humility is not within the virtue of saying: ‘I am not important’ and hiding our pride. No, Christian humility is telling the truth: ‘I am a sinner’. Tell the truth: this is our truth. >Source
(Citing 1Cor), Pope Francis: "Each member of the Body of Christ has its own function, and one is not greater than the other, since all are small before God. "Who is the most important in the Church? The Pope or the old woman who prays the Rosary every day for the Church?" The Holy Spirit, who harmonizes this diversity, is the most important" >Source
The Humility of God
Pope Francis, Palm Sunday, 29 March 2015 >>>
At the heart of this celebration, which seems so festive, are the words we heard in the hymn of the Letter to the Philippians: “He humbled himself” (2:8). Jesus’ humiliation.
These words show us God’s way and, consequently, that which must be the way of Christians: it is humility. A way which constantly amazes and disturbs us: we will never get used to a humble God!
Humility is above all God’s way: God humbles himself to walk with his people, to put up with their infidelity. This is clear when we read the the story of the Exodus. How humiliating for the Lord to hear all that grumbling, all those complaints against Moses, but ultimately against him, their Father, who brought them out of slavery and was leading them on the journey through the desert to the land of freedom.
This week, Holy Week, which leads us to Easter, we will take this path of Jesus’ own humiliation. Only in this way will this week be “holy” for us too!
We will feel the contempt of the leaders of his people and their attempts to trip him up. We will be there at the betrayal of Judas, one of the Twelve, who will sell him for thirty pieces of silver. We will see the Lord arrested and carried off like a criminal; abandoned by his disciples, dragged before the Sanhedrin, condemned to death, beaten and insulted. We will hear Peter, the “rock” among the disciples, deny him three times. We will hear the shouts of the crowd, egged on by their leaders, who demand that Barabas be freed and Jesus crucified. We will see him mocked by the soldiers, robed in purple and crowned with thorns. And then, as he makes his sorrowful way beneath the cross, we will hear the jeering of the people and their leaders, who scoff at his being King and Son of God.
This is God’s way, the way of humility. It is the way of Jesus; there is no other. And there can be no humility without humiliation.
Following this path to the full, the Son of God took on the “form of a slave” (cf. Phil 2:7). In the end, humility also means service. It means making room for God by stripping oneself, “emptying oneself”, as Scripture says (v. 7). This – the pouring out of oneself - is the greatest humiliation of all.
There is another way, however, opposed to the way of Christ. It is worldliness, the way of the world. The world proposes the way of vanity, pride, success… the other way. The Evil One proposed this way to Jesus too, during his forty days in the desert. But Jesus immediately rejected it. With him, and only by his grace, with his help, we too can overcome this temptation to vanity, to worldliness, not only at significant moments, but in daily life as well.
In this, we are helped and comforted by the example of so many men and women who, in silence and hiddenness, sacrifice themselves daily to serve others: a sick relative, an elderly person living alone, a disabled person, the homeless…
We think too of the humiliation endured by all those who, for their lives of fidelity to the Gospel, encounter discrimination and pay a personal price. We think too of our brothers and sisters who are persecuted because they are Christians, the martyrs of our own time – and there are many. They refuse to deny Jesus and they endure insult and injury with dignity. They follow him on his way. In truth, we can speak of a “cloud of witnesses” – the martyrs of our own time (cf. Heb 12:1).
During this week, let us set about with determination along this same path of humility, with immense love for him, our Lord and Saviour. Love will guide us and give us strength. For where he is, we too shall be (cf. Jn 12:26).
The Humility of Christ Crucified
Pope Francis, Palm Sunday 2015 w2.vatican.va
The Lord has not saved us by his triumphal entry or by means of powerful miracles. The Apostle Paul, in the second reading, epitomizes in two verbs the path of redemption: Jesus “emptied” and “humbled” himself (Phil 2:7-8). These two verbs show the boundlessness of God’s love for us. Jesus emptied himself: he did not cling to the glory that was his as the Son of God, but became the Son of man in order to be in solidarity with us sinners in all things; yet he was without sin. Even more, he lived among us in “the condition of a servant” (v. 7); not of a king or a prince, but of a servant. Therefore he humbled himself, and the abyss of his humiliation, as Holy Week shows us, seems to be bottomless.
The first sign of this love “without end” (Jn 13:1) is the washing of the feet. “The Lord and Master” (Jn 13:14) stoops to his disciples’ feet, as only servants would have done. He shows us by example that we need to allow his love to reach us, a love which bends down to us; we cannot do any less, we cannot love without letting ourselves be loved by him first, without experiencing his surprising tenderness and without accepting that true love consists in concrete service.
But this is only the beginning. The humiliation of Jesus reaches its utmost in the Passion: he is sold for thirty pieces of silver and betrayed by the kiss of a disciple whom he had chosen and called his friend. Nearly all the others flee and abandon him; Peter denies him three times in the courtyard of the temple. Humiliated in his spirit by mockery, insults and spitting, he suffers in his body terrible brutality: the blows, the scourging and the crown of thorns make his face unrecognizable. He also experiences shame and disgraceful condemnation by religious and political authorities: he is made into sin and considered to be unjust. Pilate then sends him to Herod, who in turn sends him to the Roman governor. Even as every form of justice is denied to him, Jesus also experiences in his own flesh indifference, since no one wishes to take responsibility for his fate. And I think of the many people, so many outcasts, so many asylum seekers, so many refugees, all of those for whose fate no one wishes to take responsibility. The crowd, who just a little earlier had acclaimed him, now changes their praise into a cry of accusation, even to the point of preferring that a murderer be released in his place. And so the hour of death on the cross arrives, that most painful form of shame reserved for traitors, slaves and the worst kind of criminals. But isolation, defamation and pain are not yet the full extent of his deprivation. To be totally in solidarity with us, he also experiences on the Cross the mysterious abandonment of the Father. In his abandonment, however, he prays and entrusts himself: “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit” (Lk 23:46). Hanging from the wood of the cross, beside derision he now confronts the last temptation: to come down from the Cross, to conquer evil by might and to show the face of a powerful and invincible God. Jesus, however, even here at the height of his annihilation, reveals the true face of God, which is mercy. He forgives those who are crucifying him, he opens the gates of paradise to the repentant thief and he touches the heart of the centurion. If the mystery of evil is unfathomable, then the reality of Love poured out through him is infinite, reaching even to the tomb and to hell. He takes upon himself all our pain that he may redeem it, bringing light to darkness, life to death, love to hatred.
God’s way of acting may seem so far removed from our own, that he was annihilated for our sake, while it seems difficult for us to even forget ourselves a little. He comes to save us; we are called to choose his way: the way of service, of giving, of forgetfulness of ourselves. Let us walk this path, pausing in these days to gaze upon the Crucifix; it is the “royal seat of God”. I invite you during this week to gaze often upon this “royal seat of God”, to learn about the humble love which saves and gives life, so that we may give up all selfishness, and the seeking of power and fame. By humbling himself, Jesus invites us to walk on his path. Let us turn our faces to him, let us ask for the grace to understand at least something of the mystery of his obliteration for our sake; and then, in silence, let us contemplate the mystery of this Week.
Only the Humble Understand
Pope Francis, homily, 12/2/15 >>>
...“To whom does He give this grace?”. Jesus himself gives the answer, as read in the Gospel of Luke: “I thank thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to babes”.
For this reason, “only those with the heart of babes are capable of receiving this revelation”. Only those with a “humble, meek heart, which feels the need to pray, to open up to God, to feel poor” have this capacity. In a word, “only those who go forth with the first beatitude: the poor in spirit”.
Of course, the Pope acknowledged, “so many can learn science, even theology”. However, “if they don't do this theology on their knees, humbly, that is, like babes, they can't understand a word”. Perhaps “they may tell us many things, but they won't understand a word”. For “only this poverty is capable of receiving the revelation that the Father gives through Jesus”. What's more, “Jesus comes not as an army general”, not as “a powerful ruler”. He will instead sprout, “as a shoot”, like in the First Reading from the Prophet Isaiah (11:1-10): “There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse”.
The Pope remarked that “we cannot receive this revelation outside, outside of the world into which Jesus brings it: in humility, debasing himself”. We can never forget that “the Word was made flesh, He marginalized himself in order to bring salvation to the marginalized”.
...According to Francis, it is obvious that “the grandeur of the mystery of God is known only in the mystery of Jesus, and the mystery of Jesus is really a mystery of lowering oneself, abasing oneself, humiliating oneself, and bringing salvation to the poor, to those who are destroyed” by sickness, sins and difficult situations.
“Outside of this framework, we cannot understand the mystery of Jesus”,
St. Faustina on Humility
Humiliation is my daily food. I understand that the bride must herself share in everything that is the groom's: and so His cloak of mockery must cover me too. At those times when I suffer much, I try to remain silent, as I do not trust my tongue which, at such moments, is inclined to talk for itself, while its duty is to help me praise God for all the blessings and gifts which He has given me. (Diary #92)
During this hour, I tried to meditate on the Lord's Passion. But my soul was filled with joy, and suddenly I saw the Child Jesus. But His majesty penetrated me to such an extent that I said, "Jesus, You are so little, and yet I know that you are my Creator and Lord." And Jesus answered me, I am and I keep company with you as a child to teach you humility and simplicity. (Diary #184)
Without humility, we cannot be pleasing to God. Practice the third degree of humility; that is, not only must one refrain from explaining and defending oneself when reproached with something, but one should rejoice at the humiliation. (Advice from Rev. Dr. Sopocko) (Diary #270)
[Jesus] said to me, the prayer of a humble and loving soul disarms the anger of My Father and draws down an ocean of blessings. (Diary #320)
Although My greatness is beyond understanding, I commune only with those who are little. I demand of you a childlike spirit. (Diary #332)
Then I saw myself ... together with the Mother of God....She was so peaceful and so united to the will of God...When I was left alone with the Blessed Virgin, She instructed me concerning the interior life. The soul's true greatness is in loving God and in humbling oneself in His presence, completely forgetting oneself and believing oneself to be nothing; because the Lord is great, but He is well-pleased only with the humble; He always opposes the proud. (Diary #1710-11)
St. Augustine on humility
Let us then follow Christ’s paths which he has revealed to us, above all the path of humility, which he himself became for us. He showed us that path by his precepts, and he himself followed it by his suffering on our behalf. In order to die for us – because as God he could not die – the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. The immortal One took on mortality that he might die for us, and by dying put to death our death. This is what the Lord did, this the gift he granted to us. The mighty one was brought low, the lowly one was slain, and after he was slain, he rose again and was exalted. For he did not intend to leave us dead in hell, but to exalt in himself at the resurrection of the dead those whom he had already exalted and made just by the faith and praise they gave him. Yes, he gave us the path of humility. If we keep to it we shall confess our belief in the Lord and have good reason to sing: We shall praise you, God, we shall praise you and call upon your name.
La Humildad de Dios
Papa Francisco, Homilía Domingo de Ramos >>>
29 de marzo de 2015
En el centro de esta celebración, que se presenta tan festiva, está la palabra que hemos escuchado en el himno de la Carta a los Filipenses: «Se humilló a sí mismo» (2,8). La humillación de Jesús.
Esta palabra nos desvela el estilo de Dios y, en consecuencia, aquel que debe ser el del cristiano: la humildad. Un estilo que nunca dejará de sorprendernos y ponernos en crisis: nunca nos acostumbraremos a un Dios humilde.
Humillarse es ante todo el estilo de Dios: Dios se humilla para caminar con su pueblo, para soportar sus infidelidades. Esto se aprecia bien leyendo la historia del Éxodo: ¡Qué humillación para el Señor oír todas aquellas murmuraciones, aquellas quejas! Estaban dirigidas contra Moisés, pero, en el fondo, iban contra él, contra su Padre, que los había sacado de la esclavitud y los guiaba en el camino por el desierto hasta la tierra de la libertad.
En esta semana, la Semana Santa, que nos conduce a la Pascua, seguiremos este camino de la humillación de Jesús. Y sólo así será «santa» también para nosotros.
Veremos el desprecio de los jefes del pueblo y sus engaños para acabar con él. Asistiremos a la traición de Judas, uno de los Doce, que lo venderá por treinta monedas. Veremos al Señor apresado y tratado como un malhechor; abandonado por sus discípulos; llevado ante el Sanedrín, condenado a muerte, azotado y ultrajado. Escucharemos cómo Pedro, la «roca» de los discípulos, lo negará tres veces. Oiremos los gritos de la muchedumbre, soliviantada por los jefes, pidiendo que Barrabás quede libre y que a él lo crucifiquen. Veremos cómo los soldados se burlarán de él, vestido con un manto color púrpura y coronado de espinas. Y después, a lo largo de la vía dolorosa y a los pies de la cruz, sentiremos los insultos de la gente y de los jefes, que se ríen de su condición de Rey e Hijo de Dios.
Esta es la vía de Dios, el camino de la humildad. Es el camino de Jesús, no hay otro. Y no hay humildad sin humillación.
Al recorrer hasta el final este camino, el Hijo de Dios tomó la «condición de siervo» (Flp 2,7). En efecto, la humildad quiere decir también servicio, significa dejar espacio a Dios negándose a uno mismo, «despojándose», como dice la Escritura (v. 7). Este «despojarse» es la humillación más grande.
Hay otra vía, contraria al camino de Cristo: la mundanidad. La mundanidad nos ofrece el camino de la vanidad, del orgullo, del éxito... Es la otra vía. El maligno se la propuso también a Jesús durante cuarenta días en el desierto. Pero Jesús la rechazó sin dudarlo. Y, con él, solamente con su gracia y con su ayuda, también nosotros podemos vencer esta tentación de la vanidad, de la mundanidad, no sólo en las grandes ocasiones, sino también en las circunstancias ordinarias de la vida.
En esto, nos ayuda y nos conforta el ejemplo de muchos hombres y mujeres que, en silencio y sin hacerse ver, renuncian cada día a sí mismos para servir a los demás: un familiar enfermo, un anciano solo, una persona con discapacidad, una persona sin techo...
Pensemos también en la humillación de los que, por mantenerse fieles al Evangelio, son discriminados y sufren las consecuencias en su propia carne. Y pensemos en nuestros hermanos y hermanas perseguidos por ser cristianos, los mártires de hoy —que son muchos—: no reniegan de Jesús y soportan con dignidad insultos y ultrajes. Lo siguen por su camino. Podemos hablar, verdaderamente, de “una nube de testigos”: los mártires de hoy (cf. Hb 12,1).
Durante esta semana, emprendamos también nosotros con decisión este camino de la humildad, movidos por el amor a nuestro Señor y Salvador. El amor nos guiará y nos dará fuerza. Y, donde está él, estaremos también nosotros (cf. Jn 12,26).
La Humildad de Cristo Crucificado
Papa Francisco, Domingo de Ramos, 2016, w2.vatican.va
El Señor no nos ha salvado con una entrada triunfal o mediante milagros poderosos... «se despojó» y «se humilló» a sí mismo (Fil 2,7.8). Estos dos verbos nos dicen hasta qué extremo ha llegado el amor de Dios por nosotros. Jesús se despojó de sí mismo: renunció a la gloria de Hijo de Dios y se convirtió en Hijo del hombre, para ser en todo solidario con nosotros pecadores, él que no conoce el pecado. Pero no solamente esto: ha vivido entre nosotros en una «condición de esclavo» (v. 7): no de rey, ni de príncipe, sino de esclavo. Se humilló y el abismo de su humillación, que la Semana Santa nos muestra, parece no tener fondo.
El primer gesto de este amor «hasta el extremo» (Jn 13,1) es el lavatorio de los pies. «El Maestro y el Señor» (Jn 13,14) se abaja hasta los pies de los discípulos, como solamente hacían lo siervos. Nos ha enseñado con el ejemplo que nosotros tenemos necesidad de ser alcanzados por su amor, que se vuelca sobre nosotros; no podemos prescindir de este, no podemos amar sin dejarnos amar antes por él, sin experimentar su sorprendente ternura y sin aceptar que el amor verdadero consiste en el servicio concreto.
Pero esto es solamente el inicio. La humillación de Jesús llega al extremo en la Pasión: es vendido por treinta monedas y traicionado por un beso de un discípulo que él había elegido y llamado amigo. Casi todos los otros huyen y lo abandonan; Pedro lo niega tres veces en el patio del templo. Humillado en el espíritu con burlas, insultos y salivazos; sufre en el cuerpo violencias atroces, los golpes, los latigazos y la corona de espinas desfiguran su aspecto haciéndolo irreconocible. Sufre también la infamia y la condena inicua de las autoridades, religiosas y políticas: es hecho pecado y reconocido injusto. Pilato lo envía posteriormente a Herodes, y este lo devuelve al gobernador romano; mientras le es negada toda justicia, Jesús experimenta en su propia piel también la indiferencia, pues nadie quiere asumirse la responsabilidad de su destino. Pienso ahora en tanta gente, en tantos inmigrantes, en tantos prófugos, en tantos refugiados, en aquellos de los cuales muchos no quieren asumirse la responsabilidad de su destino. El gentío que apenas unos días antes lo aclamaba, transforma las alabanzas en un grito de acusación, prefiriendo incluso que en lugar de él sea liberado un homicida. Llega de este modo a la muerte en cruz, dolorosa e infamante, reservada a los traidores, a los esclavos y a los peores criminales. La soledad, la difamación y el dolor no son todavía el culmen de su anonadamiento. Para ser en todo solidario con nosotros, experimenta también en la cruz el misterioso abandono del Padre. Sin embargo, en el abandono, ora y confía: «Padre, a tus manos encomiendo mi espíritu» (Lc 23,46). Suspendido en el patíbulo, además del escarnio, afronta la última tentación: la provocación a bajar de la cruz, a vencer el mal con la fuerza, y a mostrar el rostro de un Dios potente e invencible. Jesús en cambio, precisamente aquí, en el culmen del anonadamiento, revela el rostro auténtico de Dios, que es misericordia. Perdona a sus verdugos, abre las puertas del paraíso al ladrón arrepentido y toca el corazón del centurión. Si el misterio del mal es abismal, infinita es la realidad del Amor que lo ha atravesado, llegando hasta el sepulcro y los infiernos, asumiendo todo nuestro dolor para redimirlo, llevando luz donde hay tinieblas, vida donde hay muerte, amor donde hay odio.
Nos pude parecer muy lejano a nosotros el modo de actuar de Dios, que se ha humillado por nosotros, mientras a nosotros nos parece difícil incluso olvidarnos un poco de nosotros mismos. Él viene a salvarnos; y nosotros estamos llamados a elegir su camino: el camino del servicio, de la donación, del olvido de uno mismo. Podemos encaminarnos por este camino deteniéndonos durante estos días a mirar el Crucifijo, es la “catedra de Dios”. Os invito en esta semana a mirar a menudo esta “Catedra de Dios”, para aprender el amor humilde, que salva y da la vida, para renunciar al egoísmo, a la búsqueda del poder y de la fama. Con su humillación, Jesús nos invita a caminar por su camino. Volvamos a él la mirada, pidamos la gracia de entender al menos un poco de este misterio de su anonadamiento por nosotros; y así, en silencio, contemplemos el misterio de esta semana.