Humility is the Foundation and Guardian of Virtues

St. Augustine says, “among all the paths that lead to perfection, humility is the first.” And humility is reached gradually, accepting the small sacrifices that the Lord gives us.  ‘Humility,’ says Saint Bernard, ‘is the foundation and guardian of virtues;’ for without it no other virtue can exist in a soul. Saint Francis of Sales said, ‘God so loves humility, that wherever He sees it, He is immediately drawn there.’ The Son of God Himself came on earth to teach humility by His own example, and willed that in that virtue in particular we should endeavor to imitate Him: “Learn of Me, because I am meek and humble of heart.”

Humility makes us sincere to ourselves, to accept ourselves the way we are with all our short comings, failures and success. It makes us aware that we still have a long way to go and humility always help us to keep in touch with our Lord who is humble and meek.  The one who is humble can praise God for all that he has and can thank God for all that he does not have. Jesus is asking us to be ourselves and to be happy for all that we are, and have. God does not deprive anything from us that is necessary for us to be saints. All that we don’t have may be more of a gift for us! Some desires that are not fulfilled can become an obstacle between us and God. Humility helps us to thank God even for that because all that we are deprived of is not to make us impoverished, but to make our journey towards him smooth.

The world in which we live with all its attractiveness can make a huge impact on us because there exists a strong tendency to raise monuments to its own idols. Sometimes, the way the world is, makes us feel that recognition and honors are on for sale and if we don’t go along with it, we feel that we are lost and humiliated. But the real  recognition and honor comes from Our Loving God. It is He who exalts us!  Humiliations are like the chisel that falls on us to chip away the unwanted pride that is in us. Where there is humility, love prevails and where love prevails, God prevails. In the one who prevails God is the greatest because he loves more. The world is in need of love to flourish so the greatest in the world could perhaps be a mother who works, loves and dedicates her life for her children and family, whether it is in the big city of a developed country or in an unknown village of an under-developed country.

Jesus turns upside down the idea of ‘greatness’ and tell us: “The greatest among you must be your servant.” You are great as much as the greatness of your heart- you are great as much as the greatness of your love and turning that love into service. Real love urges you to serve because the one who prevails in your heart said: The Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many (Cf. Matthew 20:28; Mark 10:45; John 13:1-17). The humility of God teaches us that the one who has the world at his feet can be at the feet of us!

Prayer: Lord, it is easy to say that I want to be humble but when someone makes me see my defects how badly I react!  Very often I have the temptation to make others feel that I am better than what I really am! Sometimes, Lord, I put a mask on to get honor and praises. But Lord you know who I am! Help me to see myself as you see me. Use all that you want to make me more humble. Lord I am willing to accept any humiliation if that would help me to be closer to you. Make me humble, O Lord, you who love the humble and open the door of the kingdom for them. It is there I want to be. Otherwise, what is the purpose of living this life here on this earth! Amen.

~Fr. Augusty