Fr Mario Attard OFM Cap
Can you imagine a dish without flavour? Or, can you imagine a person without taking any breath? Can you fathom a person who desires to be holy, meaning fully human and divine, without being humble? I wonder …Humility is the bread and butter of what really makes us human and spiritual. Whereas pride harms what is human and divine in us and in other people.
Pride has its fruits. For instance, I am proud when: I fear man more than God; I regularly compare myself to others; I desire toreceive credit and recognition for what I do; I want people to be impressed with me; I am selfishly ambitious and overly competitive; I like to be the center of attention and will say or do things to draw attention to myself; I like to talk, especially about myself or persons or things I am involved with; I am not very excited about seeing or making others successful; I feel special or superior because of what I have or do; I think highly of myself; I tend to give myself credit for who I am and what I accomplish; I tend to be self-righteous; I feel deserving; I often feel ungrateful; I find myself wallowing in self-pity; I can bejealous or envious of others abilities, positions and possessions; I am pretty insensitive to others; I have a know-it-all attitude.
I am proud when I have a hard time listening to ordinary people; I interrupt people regularly; I feel compelled to stop peoplewhen they start to share something with me I already know; I find it hard to admit it when I don’t know something; I listen to teaching with other people in mind; I don’t pursue correction for my life; I have a hard time admitting that I am wrong; I viewcorrection as an intrusion into my privacy rather than as an instrument of God for my welfare; I resent people who attempt to correct me; when corrected, I become contentious and argumentative; I am easily angered and offended; I have “personality conflicts” with others; I lack respect for other people; I am a slanderer; I am divisive; I like to demean or put others down; I tend to be critical of others; I am self-willed and stubborn; I am independent and uncommitted; I am unaccountable, I am unsubmissive.
In homily 72 On the Vision of the Nature of Incorporeal Beings, St Isaac the Syrian writes:
“A humble man is never rash, hasty or perturbed, never has any hot and volatile thoughts, but at all times remains calm. Even if heaven were to fall and cleave to the earth, the humble man would not be dismayed. Not every quiet man is humble, but every humble man is quiet. There is no humble man who is not self-constrained; but you will find many who are self-constrained without being humble. This is also what the meek humble Lord meant when He said, ‘Learn of Me, for I am meek and humble of heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls.’ [Matt 11:29]
For the humble man is always at rest, because there is nothing which can agitate or shake his mind. Just as no one can frighten a mountain, so the mind of a humble man cannot be frightened. If it be permissible and not incongruous, I should say that thehumble man is not of this world. For he is not troubled and altered by sorrows, nor amazed and enthused by joys, but all his gladness and his real rejoicing are in the things of his Master. Humility is accompanied by modesty and self-collectedness: that is, chastity of the senses; a moderate voice; mean speech; self-belittlement; poor raiment; a gait that is not pompous; a gaze directed towards the earth; superabundant mercy; easily flowing tears; a solitary soul; a contrite heart; imperturbability toanger; undistributed senses; few possessions; moderation in every need; endurance; patience; fearlessness; manliness of heart born of a hatred of this temporal life; patient endurance of trials; deliberations that are ponderous, not light, extinction of thoughts; guarding of the mysteries of chastity; modesty, reverence; and above all, continually to be still and always to claim ignorance”.
Lord engrave in me the queen of all your virtues, humility. Amen.