The Power of HumilityHumility, according to Fr. Antonio Royo Marín, is "a virtue derived from temperance, which inclines us to restrain or moderate the disordered appetite of our own excellence, giving us the right knowledge of our smallness and misery, especially in relation to God." A person is humble insofar as he really knows himself, knowing of his qualities, but especially of his defects, and understanding that he can do nothing for himself, that all that he is and possesses was given to him by God to be put to the service of others. In our modern world, everything conspires against humility. We are encouraged to have more and more things, to seek a prominent place, to do everything to gain more power. And that's not enough: we need to show off for everyone through social media to show how important we are! And what does this lifestyle entail? We become poor dissatisfied people who want to have and experience everything. We place our selves at the center of our lives and forget to look around and notice the other who may be in need of help. We become more and more selfish and entitled, and any minimal threat to our image of ourselves is capable of arousing great anger and we set out to attack. The greater our ego, the greater the target for anything to reach us. And that makes us weak, susceptible, grumpy, bad-tempered, and complainers. True strength, true power, is in humility. Through humility we recognize who we really are: imperfect creatures who need each other to survive and be happy. But how to achieve true humility? St. John of the Cross teaches us:
"Show yourself always more inclined to be taught by all than to want to teach who is inferior to all. ... Rejoicing in the good of others as if it were yours and sincerely seeking that they will be preferred to thee in all things, so you will overcome evil with good, you will drive the devil away from you and rejoice the heart. Seek to exercise it above all with those who are less sympathetic to you. And know that if you do not exercise in this field, you will not come to true charity nor take advantage of it."Pope Francis also shows us the path of humility:
"Humility can only be rooted in the heart through humiliation. If you can not bear and offer God some humiliation, you are not humble and you are not on the path to holiness. (...) I do not say humiliation is something pleasant, because that would be masochism, but it is a way to imitate Jesus and grow in union with Him. This is not understandable on the natural plane, and the world ridicules such a proposal. It is a grace we need to beg: 'Lord, when humiliations come, help me to feel that I am following behind you in your way.' "(GE 118, 120)Humility frees us from ourselves and we begin to look upon each other with more compassion and mercy. We become aware that we are weak, that we can fall at any moment, so it is easier to forgive also the one who hurts us. When faced with an offense, someone who has a proper knowledge of himself and is humble, thinks: "If I had had the same education, suffered the same traumas, experienced the same experiences as this person who offended me, I would probably have acted much worse. " It is not easy to reach true humility. Every human being is born 100% selfish, wanting the world to revolve around himself, so this work of freeing from self, takes a lifetime. A saint once said: "Selfishness dies 15 minutes after the person dies!" We must insistently ask for the grace of humility. We suggest praying the Litany of Humility, composed by Rafael Cardinal Merry del Val:
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 …
Copyright 2018 Flávia Ghelardi
About the Author
Flávia Ghelardi is the mom of four, a former lawyer already "promoted" to full time mom. Flávia published her first book FORTALECENDO SUA FAMÍLIA and is a member of Schoenstatt´s Apostolic Movement. Flávia loves to speak about motherhood and the important role of women, as desired by God, for our society. She blogs at www.fortalecendosuafamilia.blogspot.com.