The Faithful Man is Humble

"Get Real" means "be humble"

Humility disposes an individual to be receptive to objective truth, to reality. Christ Himself tells us that He is the Truth (John 14:6), and so to be humble is to be receptive to Christ. Conversely, when caught in pride, one resists Christ, and exalts himself. God cannot indulge the false reality that man creates for himself in this prideful posture.  For this very reason we read “God resists the proud, but gives grace (the very life of God) to the humble” (James 4:6).

If only out of self-interest for our salvation, we must pray, beg even, for the grace of humility. This grace will begin to open our eyes to the reality of our condition, of our weakness and brokenness, of our need for God. The beauty of the grace of humility is that it lends itself to its own growth and increase. As one opens ever so slightly to the grace of humility, receiving it, they are further disposed to receive and seek the truth, to seek Truth, Who is also the Light (John 8:12), revealing more to us of ourselves. The more which one comes to understand the reality of their littleness and nothingness before God, the more they grow in humility, and the more receptive they are to receiving the truth, and so on. The grace and virtue increase as long as we do not place ourselves or other things before them as obstacles.

In light of our littleness before God, man’s humility towards God is more understandable, more reasonable to us; easier to follow as an act of justice. Christ Himself tells us, “without me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). However, man’s humility towards one another can be much more challenging. How easy it is to fall to temptation to become proud, and presume oneself greater than another in some way (stronger, smarter, holier, better looking, etc.). Yet we are called to follow Christ’s example, to “put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the desires of the flesh” (Romans 13:14), and to “be perfect” as our heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). In Christ we find an example of humility not only towards Persons co-equal in dignity (Divine Persons), but humility towards persons of objectively lesser dignity (human persons). “Christ Jesus, Who though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross.” (Phil 2:6-8)

Christ humbled Himself under the Father and the Spirit to suffer taking up a human nature, and once taken up, humbled Himself to suffer His Passion. To pursue growth in humility after the example of Christ, we must be likewise willing to suffer humiliation under even those whom we might consider ourselves “greater” than in some way (wisdom / experience, authority, position, etc.).

In Gaudete Et Exsultate we read that

Humility can only take root in the heart through humiliations. Without them, there is no humility or holiness. If you are unable to suffer and offer up a few humiliations, you are not humble and you are not on the path to holiness. The holiness that God bestows on his Church comes through the humiliation of his Son. He is the way. Humiliation makes you resemble Jesus; it is an unavoidable aspect of the imitation of Christ. For ‘Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps” (1 Peter 2:21). In turn, he reveals the humility of the Father, who condescends to journey with his people, enduring their infidelities and complaints. For this reason, the Apostles, after suffering humiliation, rejoiced ‘that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for [Jesus’] name” (Acts 5:41).  (Gaudete Et Exsultate, Par 118)

Let us pray then for the grace to receive humiliations as the Lord wills to permit them, that our growth in humility might be more authentic, refined in the fire of the Lord’s love for us. May we never seek to exalt or esteem ourselves, so as to avoid temptations to pride, and may we always take up a place of adoration before God, allowing His love to reveal to us more of Himself, and ourselves (CCC 2628).

From The Imitation of Christ

The more you know and the better you understand, the more severely will you be judged, unless your life is also the more holy. Do not be proud, therefore, because of your learning or skill. Rather, fear because of the talent given you. If you think you know many things and understand them well enough, realize at the same time that there is much you do not know. Hence, do not affect wisdom, but admit your ignorance. Why prefer yourself to anyone else when many are more learned, more cultured than you?

Catechism2779: Before we make our own this first exclamation of the Lord’s Prayer, we must humbly cleanse our hearts of certain false images drawn “from this world.” Humility makes us recognize that “no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him,” that is, “to little children.” The purification of our hearts has to do with paternal or maternal images, stemming from our personal and cultural history, and influencing our relationship with God. God our Father transcends the categories of the created world. To impose our own ideas in this area “upon him” would be to fabricate idols to adore or pull down. To pray to the Father is to enter into his mystery as he is and as the Son has revealed him to us.

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