Humility is the foundation of all the other virtues hence, in the soul in which this virtue does not exist there cannot be any other virtue except in mere appearance -Saint Augustine
As one engages in the battle for souls, the most vicious enemy we will have to contend with is pride. The Lord throughout his revelation to men reveals His distaste for the proud and His love for the humble:
Every proud heart is an abomination to the LORD; be assured that none will go unpunished – Proverbs 16:5
For humble people you save; haughty eyes you bring low – Psalms 18:28
These are just two of the many quotes in scripture on the primacy of humility and the dangers of pride. I want to pause here and interject a definition of pride so that you can keep it in mind throughout this post:
An inordinate esteem of oneself. It is inordinate because it is contrary to the truth…Pride may be expressed in different ways: by taking personal credit for gifts or possessions, as if they had not been received from God; by glorying in achievements, as if they were not primarily the result of divine goodness and grace; by minimizing one’s defects or claiming qualities that are not actually possessed; by holding oneself superior to others or disdaining them because they lack what the proud person has; by magnifying the defects of others or dwelling on them. When pride is carried to the extent that a person is unwilling to acknowledge dependence on God and refuses to submit his or her will to God or lawful authority, it is a grave sin…
…Pride strives for perverse excellence. It despises others and, depending on its perversity, even looks down upon God. The remedies for pride are a sincere knowledge of oneself, the acceptance of daily humiliations, avoidance of even the least self-complacency, humble acknowledgement of ones’ faults, and prayerful communion with God – http://www.catholicculture.org
For most of us, pride is what prevents us from coming to a true relationship with God. It makes us resist His chastisements, accepting His real truths, prevents us from acknowledging that ALL good in us comes from Him and it makes us love ourselves more than anyone, including God! Pride refuses to do the will of the Father, and if this is the case, one who resists the will of the Father is surely damned because the way to the kingdom is only by doing the will of the Father.
Humility is the complete opposite of pride, and this is why the heavenly Father loves the humble:
If humble souls are contradicted, they remain calm; if they are calumniated, they suffer with patience; if they are little esteemed, neglected, or forgotten, they consider that their due; if they are weighed down with occupations, they perform them cheerfully – St. Vincent de Paul
This is the reason why we must ardently strive for humility in our own spiritual lives because the humble will not be rejected from the kingdom. They can’t be because the humble submit their entire life to the Father’s will and the will of the Father is to bring all men and women to Him.
Let me clear about one thing. To be humble is very painful at first. Have you ever been corrected by someone you “think” is less than perfect? How did that feel? Hurt quite a bit did it not? Even small attacks on a person’s pride can result in the most vicious counter-assaults and negative emotions. Why? Pride does not want to be exposed and when it is exposed it will fight to the death to maintain its hold on the hearts of men and women.
To grow in humility requires our own pride to be hurt and reduced to nothing. This means bearing the insults, the embarrassment, the ridicule from others and more. If we can bear this through the grace of God, we will slowly be able to grow in humility. As we grow in humility, we will be able to see pride in a clearer light because we are starting to let the light of God penetrate the deeper parts of our soul and illuminate the places where pride hides.
It is sad to see pride has rotted itself in the church, ourselves, our families, and our friends. If we cannot even allow our pride to be cured by the people we are closest with, what can we do? Spouses bitter against each other, clergy who are unwilling to let their errors be corrected, families are torn apart, and all this is due to pride. What is one to do? Remember one thing, only the grace of God can change a heart of stone to flesh. We on our own part have to focus on opening our hearts to the grace of God so that he can transform us from sinners to saints. This is accomplished through prayer, the sacraments and by imitating our Lord Jesus Christ. This will take time, it will not be an instant conversion for the majority of people. If you are stuck in a relationship that is riddled with pride, pray to the Lord and ask that He may heal the ones we love.
One of the most important virtues required for United Body is humility. Humility will lead to an increase in all virtues, especially charity. This effort must be composed of those who are actively working to subdue their pride and replace it with the virtue of humility. It does not mean that one has to be perfectly humble but is on the path towards perfecting this virtue. Be mindful of my advice and pray for yourselves and those who you know are stuck in pride. All that we can do is bear their assaults, pray for them and leave the rest to God. Never give up the pursuit for humility, for the Lord loves those with a humble heart.
Blessed Mother, pray for us!