Thursday, July 1, 2010

Seventeen Evidences of a Lack of Humility

Finished reading Fr. George Rutler’s biography of St. John Vianney, titled The Cure d’Ars Today. Amidst various details that Fr. Rutler seeds the earth of his writing, he tossed in a packet of seventeen evidences of a lack of humility. Given recent suffering in which I have not been able to go out to plant, prune, spray, or otherwise tend the gardens, I have tried to finish some books partly read.

And the pain has also reminded me that without my body, and at times in extreme pain without my mind, I am nothing at all but a soul very much dependent upon God, begging Him for mercy. I would do well to remember this fact all the time, as the Noble Fir was reminded despite it’s name, that we are not noble except when stripped to our bare core, and that happens in death. And for the fortunate, it happens in dying to self in life, in utter dependency upon, as the Cure would exclaim, “The Good God!”

Raking over these seventeen evidences of a lack of humility, watering them in, hopefully to take deep root in my soul...and the evidences of a lack of humility are:

“to think that what one says or does is better than what others say or do;

always to want to get your own way;

to argue with stubbornness and bad manners whether you are right or wrong;

to give your opinion when it has not been requested or when charity does not demand it;

to look down on another’s point of view;

not to look on your gifts or abilities as lent;

not to recognize that you are not worthy of your honors and esteem, not even the earth you walk on and things you possess;

to use yourself as an example in conversation;

to speak badly of yourself so that others will think well of you or contradict you;

to excuse yourself when you are corrected;

to hide humiliating faults from your spiritual director, so that he will not change the impression he has of you;

to take pleasure in praise and compliments;

to be saddened because others are held in high esteem;

to refuse to perform inferior tasks;

to seek to stand out;

to refer in conversation to your honesty, genius, dexterity, or professional prestige;

and to be ashamed because you lack certain goods.”

I find this list helpful and yet another way to remind myself of the blessedness and goal of humility.  Humility is a constant effort on our part, in each moment, yet also very much a grace to be given, much like a rose’s effort and natural instinct to bloom but yet very grateful to be dead-headed.

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