Tuesday, October 29, 2013



Definition: A moral virtue prompting in its possessor  an appreciation and external expression of his true position with respect to God and his neighbor ; opposed, therefore, both to pride and to immoderate self-abjection.
The Catholic Dictionary by Donald Attwater

"Humility is Truth"
St. Teresa of Jesus (Avila)

As Secular Carmelites, we are seeking union with God through contemplative prayer.  St. Teresa teaches us that prayer brings self-knowledge. It can be very spiritually and physically painful when the Lord reveals to us the truth about ourselves: our sins, faults, and imperfections.  Let us not lose heart. It is false humility to think we cannot overcome our faults and failings. St. Teresa gives us a very simple description of humility: "Humility is truth."  May the Holy Spirit give us the courage to see ourselves as we really are and the humility to submit to his saving action in our lives. 

The motto of the Benedictines:
Ora et Labora (Pray and Work)

Note:  Although these teachings were directed to monks, we can benefit from St. Benedict's wisdom on this holy virtue.

1.  The fear of God ever present to the mind and causing us to keep
     the commandments.

2.  Obedience, or the submission of our will to God's.

3.  Obedience to Superiors out of love for God.

4.  Patient obedience even in the most difficult things, bearing 
     injuries without murmur, even and above all, when humiliation  
     comes from Superiors.

5.  The avowal of secret faults, thoughts included, to the Superior, 
     apart from sacramental confession.

6.  The willing acceptance of all privations, of menial offices, 
     considering oneself unworthy of even such tasks.

7.  To consider oneself in all sincerity as the lowest of men. This 
      is a degree of humility rarely found.

8.  Avoidance of singularity: to do nothing out of the ordinary, but 
     to be satisfied with what is sanctioned by the common rule...

9.  Silence: to know how to remain silent as long as conversation is 
     not addressed to us, or as long as there is no good reason 
     to speak.

10.  Moderation of laughter: St. Benedict does not condemn 
       laughter in so far as it is an expression of spiritual joy...

11.  Reserve in speech: when one speaks, it must be done quietly 
       and humbly...

12.  Modesty of behavior: to walk, sit, and hold oneself erect; to 
       practice modesty of the eyes without affectation, to keep one's 
       thoughts fixed on God...
The Spiritual Life by The Very Reverend Adolphe Tanquerey, No.1130

More on the virtue of humility by a modern-day Saint, 
St. Jose Maria Escriva:

St. Jose Maria Escriva's Seventeen signs of a lack of humility:

1.  Thinking that what you do or say is better than what others do
      or say.

2.  Always wanting to get your own way.

3.  Arguing when you are not right or when you are insisting     
     stubbornly or with bad manners.

4.  Giving your opinion without being asked for it, when charity 
     does not demand you to do so.

5.  Despising the point of view of others.

6.  Not being aware that all the gifts and qualities you have are on 

7.  Not acknowledging that you are unworthy of all honor or 
     esteem, even the ground you are treading on or the things you 

8.  Mentioning yourself as an example in conversation.

9.  Speaking badly about yourself, so that they may form a good 
     opinion of you, or contradict you.

10. Making excuses when rebuked.

11.  Hiding some humiliating faults from your director, so that he 
       may not lose the good opinion he has of you.

12.  Hearing praise with satisfaction, or being glad that others have 
       spoken well of you.

13.  Being hurt that others are held in greater esteem than you.

14.  Refusing to carry out menial tasks.

15.  Seeking or wanting to be singled out.

16.  Letting drop words of self-praise in conversation, or words   
       that might show your honesty, your wit or skill, your 
       professional prestige…

17.  Being ashamed of not having certain possessions…

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