Josemaría Escrivá Obras
259

Prayer is the humility of the man who acknowledges his profound wretchedness and the greatness of God. He addresses and adores God as one who expects everything from Him and nothing from himself.

Faith is the humility of the mind which renounces its own judgement and surrenders to the verdict and authority of the Church.

Obedience is the humility of the will which subjects itself to the will of another, for God’s sake.

Chastity is the humility of the flesh, which subjects itself to the spirit.

Exterior mortification is the humility of the senses.

Penance is the humility of all the passions, immolated to the Lord.

—Humility is truth on the road of the ascetical struggle.


260

It is a great thing to know oneself to be nothing before God, because that is how things are.


261

“Learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart... “The humility of Jesus!... What a lesson for you who are a poor earthenware vessel! He — always merciful — has raised you up, and made the light of the sun of grace shine upon your baseness, which has now been freely exalted. And you, how often you have covered your pride under a cloak of dignity or justice...! And how many chances to learn from the Master you have wasted by not knowing how to supernaturalize them!


262

Those periods of depression, because you see your defects or because others discover them, have no foundation...

—Ask for true humility.


263

Allow me to remind you that among other evident signs of a lack of humility are:

—Thinking that what you do or say is better than what others do or say;

—Always wanting to get your own way;

—Arguing when you are not right or — when you are — insisting stubbornly or with bad manners;

—Giving your opinion without being asked for it, when charity does not demand you to do so;

—Despising the point of view of others;

—Not being aware that all the gifts and qualities you have are on loan;

—Not acknowledging that you are unworthy of all honour or esteem, even the ground you are treading on or the things you own;

—Mentioning yourself as an example in conversation;

—Speaking badly about yourself, so that they may form a good opinion of you, or contradict you;

—Making excuses when rebuked;

—Hiding some humiliating faults from your director, so that he may not lose the good opinion he has of you;

—Hearing praise with satisfaction, or being glad that others have spoken well of you;

—Being hurt that others are held in greater esteem than you;

—Refusing to carry out menial tasks;

—Seeking or wanting to be singled out;

—Letting drop words of self-praise in conversation, or words that might show your honesty, your wit or skill, your professional prestige...;

—Being ashamed of not having certain possessions...


264

To be humble does not mean to feel anxiety or fear.


265

Let us flee from the false humility whose real name is comfort-seeking.


266

It is Peter who speaks: Lord! Do You wash my feet? Jesus answers: You do not understand what I am doing now; you will understand it later. Peter insists: You will never wash my feet. And Jesus explains: If I do not wash your feet, you will have no part with me. Simon Peter surrenders: Lord, not only my feet, but also my hands and my head.

Faced by the call to total self-giving, complete and without any hesitation, we often oppose it with false modesty like Peter’s... May we also be men with a heart like the Apostle’s! Peter allows no one to love Jesus more than he does. That love leads us to reply thus: Here I am! Wash me, head, hands and feet! Purify me completely, for I want to give myself to You without holding anything back.


267

I copy for you from a letter: “I am enchanted by evangelical humility. But what infuriates me is the timid, sheepish and irresponsible way by which some Christians discredit the Church. That atheist author must have had them in mind when he wrote that Christian morality is the morality of slaves.” In fact we are servants: servants raised to the rank of children of God, who do not wish to behave as if enslaved by their passions.


268

If you are convinced of your “poor quality” — if you know yourself — you will react to events supernaturally. Joy and peace will take a firmer root in your soul, in the face of humiliations, being despised, calumnies...

In these cases, after saying fiat — Lord, whatever you want — you should think: “Is that all he said? He obviously does not know me, otherwise he wouldn’t have left it at that.”

Being convinced that you deserve worse treatment, you will feel grateful to that person, and rejoice at what might have made somebody else suffer.


269

The higher a statue is raised, the harder and more dangerous the impact when it falls.


270

Go to spiritual direction with greater humility each time. And go punctually, for that is also humility.

See yourself — and you will not be mistaken, because God speaks to you there — as a very sincere little child who is being taught to speak, to read, to know the names of flowers and birds, to experience joys and sorrows, to notice the ground he is treading on.


271

“I am still a poor creature”, you tell me.

But once, when you realised it, you felt very bad about it! Now, without getting used to it or giving in to it, you are starting to make a habit of smiling, and of beginning your fight again with growing joy.


272

If you are sensible and humble, you will have realised that one never stops learning... This happens in every field; even the wisest will always have something to learn, until the end of their lives; if they don’t, they cease to be wise.


273

Dear Jesus: if I have to be an apostle, you will need to make me very humble.

Everything the sun touches is bathed in light. Lord, fill me with your clarity, make me share in your divinity so that I may identify my will with your adorable Will and become the instrument you wish me to be. Give me the madness of the humiliation you underwent, which led you to be born poor, to work in obscurity, to the shame of dying sewn with nails to a piece of wood, to your self-effacement in the Blessed Sacrament.

—May I know myself: may I know myself and know you. I will then never lose sight of my nothingness.


274

Only the stupid are obstinate: the very stupid are very obstinate.


275

Do not forget that in human affairs other people may also be right: they see the same question as you, but from a different point of view, under another light, with other shades, with other contours.

—Only in faith and morals is there an indisputable standard: that of our Mother the Church.


276

How good it is to know how to put things right with yourself...! And, how few people learn that art!


277

Rather than commit a fault against charity, give in, offer no resistance, whenever you have the chance. Show the humility of the grass, which yields without needing to know whose foot is stepping on it.


278

To be converted you must climb via humility, along the path of self-abasement.


279

You said: “the self has to be decapitated...” —But it’s hard, isn’t it?


280

One often has to force oneself, to humble oneself and say repeatedly to the Lord in earnest, Serviam! — I will serve you.


281

Memento, homo, quia pulvis es... — remember, man, that you are dust... If you are dust, why should you find it irksome to be trodden upon?


282

The path of humility takes you everywhere... but above all to Heaven.


283

A sure way to be humble is to contemplate how, even without talents, fame or fortune, we can be effective instruments if we go to the Holy Spirit so that He may grant us his gifts.

The apostles, though they had been taught by Jesus for three years, fled in terror from the enemies of Christ. But after Pentecost they let themselves be flogged and imprisoned, and ended up giving their lives in witness to their faith.


284

It is true that nobody can be certain of his perseverance... But that uncertainty is another reason for humility and an obvious proof of our freedom.


285

Although you don’t amount to much, God has made use of you, and He continues to make use of you to perform fruitful work again and again for his glory.

—Don’t put on airs. Think what would an instrument of iron or steel say about itself, when a craftsman uses it to set golden jewellery with precious stones?


286

What is of more value: a pound weight of gold or a pound of copper?... And yet in many cases copper is more useful and better than gold.


287

Your vocation — God’s calling — is to direct, to draw others, to serve, to lead. If through a false or ill-conceived humility you isolate yourself, all huddled up in a corner, you are failing in your duty to be a divine instrument.


288

When the Lord makes use of you to pour his grace into souls remember that you are only the wrapping round the gift, the paper that is torn up and thrown away.


289

Quia respexit humilitatem ancillae suae — because he has looked graciously upon the lowliness of his handmaid...

—I am more convinced every day that authentic humility is the supernatural basis for all virtues!

Talk to Our Lady, so that she may train us to walk along that path.


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