“Humility is the truth”

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Recognizing our smallness, we conclude that we are not able to do anything without God’s help, but if we trust in Him we will be able to do even more than we expected.

Newsroom (October 8, 2021, 10:30 AM, Gaudium Press) It is not rare to find people with a very high opinion of their own image.

St. Teresa has said, “Humility is the truth, the Lord loves the humble so much because they love the truth; the pure truth is that we are nothing, we are ignorant, blind and incapable of doing any good.”[1]

So we must constantly have before our eyes what we really are: see the qualities – and especially the defects, which are almost always more numerous – and when we do a great deed, know how to recognize that the strength for it comes to us from God.

The story is told that once a noble lord from the sumptuous French courts decided to marry a lady of rather lower nobility. The nobleman, fearing that his wife would one day be puffed up by the high status she had acquired, advised her to keep her old clothes – so simple in comparison with those she was now to possess – so that she could look at them when she was assailed by prideful temptations. In this way, the reminder that she had nothing of her own would be a continual stimulus to the practice of humility.

So too, we should always keep before our eyes the humble condition of our fragile nature, recognizing that everything good we have comes from God.

A valuable piece of advice

One way to practice humility is to be careful about how you talk about yourself. If you want to keep a conversation going, talk about your interlocutor; if you want to end it, talk about yourself.

During the reign of Anne of Austria, there lived a holy man in France: Saint Vincent de Paul. Being the target of numerous calumnies, the queen ordered him to appear before her and asked him, “Do you know, Father, what things they say about you that you do not defend yourself against?” The humble saint replied, “Lady, worse things have been said against Our Lord and He has kept silent…”[2]

If saints like this were silent, even when it came to defending their own person from slander, how much more should we be careful not to increase our glory before others?

Never trust yourself!

Countless are the times that, when we draw up a plan, we barely start and we are met with failure… This should help us not to rely on our own strengths and qualities, especially in the sanctification of our souls.

Recognizing our smallness, we conclude that we are not able to do anything without God’s help, but if we trust in Him we will be able to do even more than we expected.

St. Teresa also taught: “A soul that does not recognize that it has received great things from God will not also do great things for God.”

The Church teaches in this regard that there is no possibility of stably practicing any virtue without the help of Grace.

The Litany of Humility

Cardinal Merry del Val, secretary of Saint Pius X, wrote the beautiful Litany of Humility, a true compendium of the perfect practice of this virtue. Reciting and meditating on this prayer can be a precious help in the practice of Humility.

Litany of Humility
(Cardinal Merry del Val)

O Jesus, meek and humble of heart, hear me.

From the desire to be esteemed, deliver me, O Jesus.

From the desire to be loved, deliver me, O Jesus.

From the desire to be known, deliver me, O Jesus.

From the desire to be honored, deliver me, O Jesus.

From the desire to be praised, deliver me, O Jesus

From longing to be preferred, deliver me, O Jesus

From the desire to be consulted, deliver me, O Jesus

From the desire to be approved, deliver me, O Jesus

From the fear of being humiliated, deliver me, O Jesus.

From the fear of being despised, deliver me, O Jesus.

From the fear of being repulsed, deliver me, O Jesus.

From the fear of being slandered, deliver me, O Jesus.

From the fear of being forgotten, deliver me, O Jesus.

From the fear of being ridiculed, deliver me, O Jesus.

From the fear of being infamous, deliver me, O Jesus.

From the fear of being the object of suspicion, deliver me, O Jesus.

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

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

That others may rise in the opinion of the world, and that I may be diminished, Jesus, give me the grace to desire it.

That others may be chosen and I may be set aside, Jesus, give me the grace to desire it.

That others may be praised and I despised, Jesus, give me the grace to desire it.

That others may be preferred to me in all things, Jesus, give me the grace to desire it.

That others may be holier than I, though I become as holy as I can, Jesus, give me the grace to desire it.

By Henrique Soares

[1] OMER, Saint. School of Christian perfection. 4. ed. Trad. José Lopes. Petrópolis: Vozes, 1955, p. 215.

[2] Cf. ALVES, Francisco. Tesouro de exemplos. 2. ed. Petrópolis: Vozes, 1958, v. 1, p. 233.

[3] OMER. Op. cit., p. 217.

Compiled by Sarah Gangl

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