Humility – Twenty-Eighth Day of February
“He that humbleth himself shall be exalted.” — St. Luke 14:11
All who have had a true desire to become humble have practiced humiliation. They knew it was the assured road to acquire that virtue, and that there is none better. — St. Bernard.
St. Francis, St. Bonaventure, St. Francis of Borgia, St. Magdalene of Pazzi, St. Teresa, seized every occasion to humble themselves.
We read, in St. John Climacus, of a monk who had a great love of humility, and in order to triumph over temptations to vanity, with which he was often assailed, wrote on the walls of his cell these remarkable words: Perfect charity. Love of prayer. Entire mortification. Unalterable sweetness. Invincible patience. Angelic chastity. Profound humility. Filial confidence. Perfect exactitude. Admirable resignation.
When the devil came to tempt him to vanity, he said to himself: “I will prove you have no cause to be vain.” Approaching the wall, he read what was written thereon, making these reflections: “Have I perfect charity — I who speak ill of other? A love of prayer I who cannot say one prayer without distractions? Entire mortification — I who seek continually to satisfy myself? An unalterable sweetness — I who so often look severely at my brethren? An invincible patience — I who will suffer nothing without complaining? An angelic chastity — I who, neglecting to watch over my senses, allow thoughts that are not pure to find a place in my mind? A filial confidence — I who go so rarely to God as to a father? Perfect exactitude — I who have never performed one action without some imperfection? An admirable resignation — I who find it so hard to submit my will to that of God’s?
I have no virtues, I have every vice; how, then, dare I be proud? Grant, O my God, that in justice I may constantly humble myself before Thee. Deign to cast a look of compassion on so miserable a sinner.