Humility: 18 maxims from Holy and Virtuous Teachers

What is humility? How is it acquired? Find out what the Saints have to say.

Newsdesk (June 22, 2021 10:55 AM, Gaudium Press) –  Humility is the basis of the virtues. Without genuine humility, one cannot practice any virtue, for the person who is not humble rejects God’s grace. Without it, one cannot practice charity, which is steadfast love for God and neighbour. Because it is essential, one must always beg to obtain it.

In turn, the basis of all vices is pride, as it is the opposite of humility.

Then, what is humility? How is it acquired?

This article features some thoughts from saints and doctors that may help us to understand and practice this fundamental virtue:

“Humility is the truth, and the truth is that we have nothing good that we have not received from God.” (St. Teresa of Avila)

“Humility is the clear knowledge of who we are, without removing or adding anything.” (Balsam)

“To arrive at the knowledge of the truth, there are many paths: the first is humility, the second is humility, and the third is humility.” (St. Augustine)

The greater you are, the more you must humble yourself; so you will find favor in the sight of the Lord. For great is the might of the Lord, but by the humble he is glorified.” (Sirach 3:18-20)

“True humility consists in persuading and convincing oneself that without God we are insignificant and despicable; and in accepting to be treated as such.” (St. Ignatius of Loyola)

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“In order to overcome the power of the devil, the soul needs prayer; and will not be able to understand his deceptions without mortification and humility.” (St. John of the Cross)

“Humility is a very strange entity. The moment we think we have it, we have already lost it.” (St. Augustine)

“Humility is to be convinced that you are nothing on your own; to despise no one, and to attribute your qualities to a gift from God.” (Pischetta)

“Humility is the habit of thinking of oneself in contrast with how perfect God is, and in relation with the perfection to which He has destined us and which we cannot attain.”

“Humility is the supernatural virtue, through accurate knowledge of ourselves, inclines us to esteem ourselves precisely for what we are worth, and to accept humiliations and scorns.” (Tanquerey)

Everything comes from God

“The humble man regards himself as a beggar before the Almighty and generous God. He wants to treat God as God, owner and Creator of everything. He considers himself unworthy of the great benefits that Our Lord does for him and marvels that God bows so kindly before such an unworthy and miserable creature.” (Baudemon)

“The supreme basis of Christian humility is the recognition of what we are and possess comes to us from God and that we owe it to Him.” (Nacar)

Humility is not fleeing from great endeavours

“The humble flee from a defect doing them great harm. It consists in, out of pettiness, fleeing from great works, as they judge them to be falsely superior to their strength. However, the humble know that they are nothing; conversely they recognize that with God’s help they can perform great works.” (Pischetta)

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“Humility is the protocol that the ceremonial demands for audiences with God.” (Fr Alfonso Milagro)

“The Holy Spirit requires those wishing to receive His lights and inspirations to be humble; to recognize that by alone they can do nothing; that they receive everything from God.” (Fr Luis Bonilla)

“When you see something good in yourself, attribute it to God, not to yourself.” (St. Benedict)

“God prefers humility. He hates and abhors pride, because pride is a lie.” (Fr. Luis Bonilla)

“One day, I started thinking about what is the last office that there can be in the world. And I discovered that the last place is at the feet of the traitor Judas. And I wanted to place myself there, but I couldn’t because there, I found Jesus Christ kneeling, washing Judas’ feet. Since then, my appreciation for humility has grown (St. Francis of Borja).

Text extracted from Humility, by Fr. Salesman


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