Humility Might Be the Death of Me
The Way of Perfection (Week 10 of 10)
…perfect souls are in no way repelled by trials, but rather desire them and pray for them and love them. They are like soldiers: the more wars there are, the better they are pleased, because they hope to emerge from them with the greater riches. If there are no wars, they serve for their pay, but they know they will not get very far on that.
The Way of Perfection, Chapter 38, Paragraph 1
Humility Might be the Death of Me
Throughout this book, I’ve realized a few things.
First, I have a lonnnnnnnnng way to go. I’m trying not to give up on myself. Because? Wow. That’s a long way.
Second, I am nowhere near spiritually mature, spiritually ready, or…well. It’s hard to feel very good about myself spiritually. I have a lot of work to do!
And that’s the third thing: feeling good about yourself isn’t what it’s all about. Funny thing, isn’t it?
I’m not trying to say that we should be down on ourselves all the time. There is, however, a point at which we have to buckle down, when we have to look at these great saints and think, “Hey! Wait a minute! I’m supposed to be like THAT? I’M SUPPOSED TO BE LIKE THAT!” There’s terror in that question-turns-to-exclamation, true, but there’s also hope.
For me, hope comes, so often, in the shape of humility. I don’t think I will ever be perfect, but the only shot I have at perfection comes from grace and mercy and hope. And all of those are rooted in God himself.
Always strive for humility, sisters, and try to realize that you are not worthy of these graces, and do not seek them. It is because many souls do this, I feel sure, that the devil loses them; he thinks that he has caused their ruin, but out of the evil which he has been trying to do the Lord brings good. For His Majesty regards our intention, which is to please Him and serve Him and keep near to Him in prayer, and the Lord is faithful. We shall do well to be cautious, and not to let our humility break down or to become in any way vainglorious. Entreat the Lord to deliver you from this, daughters, and you need then have no fear that His Majesty will allow you to be comforted much by anyone but Himself.
The Way of Perfection, Chapter 38, Paragraph 4
So often, we hear “doormat” and “kicked dog” when we hear “humility.” But when I think of the shining examples of humility in my life — my husband, my pastor, my best friend — I see strong examples of faith, courage, and virtue. I see people who don’t compromise, people who don’t ask for more, people who aren’t afraid to give credit where it’s due.
Striving for humility, I’ve found, is what keeps me sort of sane. I may never really reach it, but maybe that’s part of the journey I’m on. Maybe I’m setting the wrong goal and what I see as “reaching humility” is really unattainable for me.
In any event, I’m going to keep reaching, stumbling along and doing the best I can while leaning heavily on God.
Get your copy of our next book, The Four Cardinal Virtues by Josef Pieper.
If you’ve ever wanted to know more about the foundation for all Christian virtue, be sure to join us for this book. We’ll begin reading on November 11.
1. Do you struggle with humility? What are some ways you can put St. Teresa’s advice into practice in your life?
2. How does humility impact your life? What difference does it make in the people around you?
Feel free to comment on anything from our assignment this past week!
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