Humility and humbling oneself PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 22 July 2018 16:03



POPE Francis said in his Apostolic Exhortation, Gaudete et exsultate, that humility is when one is humbled or humiliated. It’s a line that has been said by many other holy men and women before him.

It’s true, of course. But I feel that we just have to qualify that a little bit.

And that is that humility presumes that one humbles himself first before he can accept, with God’s grace and in the manner of Christ’s humility, all the humiliations that can come to him.

Without this attitude of humbling oneself, one cannot accept the humiliations that can be inflicted on him, the way Christ accepted all the humiliations, especially in his passion and death.

I believe that Christ himself made this condition for one to be truly humble. “Those who humble themselves will be exalted,” he said. (Mt 23,12) He also said that “if anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all.” (Mk 9,35)

One’s effort to humble himself complies with Christ’s command that if we want to follow him we should deny ourselves and carry the cross. In other words, our capacity to carry the cross of all the humiliations that can come to us can only take root and develop when we deny ourselves or empty ourselves. In short, we can only carry the cross if we humble ourselves first.

This is somehow corroborated when Christ told his disciples who were arguing about who was the greatest among them that “Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me. And whoever receives me, receives not me but the One who sent me.” (Mk 9,37)

And the child is presented here as the icon of humility and simplicity, since the child does not think of himself as someone great. He is always outward looking, not inward looking, and is accepting of everyone and everything.

We therefore need to have that humility and simplicity of a child even as we gain more experience and knowledge. The challenge here is how to retain that child-like humility and simplicity as we go through the drama of life, with its ups and downs, wins and losses.

When we have the humility of a child, we would be facilitated in accepting Christ and the mysteries of the spiritual and supernatural reality that is meant for us. Successes would not intoxicate and spoil us, nor failures dampen our spirit. Whatever happens, we would still be in God’s side.

If ever, they would only enable us to get closer to God, thanking and praising him for the good things we are experiencing or asking for help and for forgiveness when bad things come our way. We would manage to retain our peace and joy.

When we think of ourselves only, whether highly or lowly, we would imprison ourselves in our own world and would be left helpless and defenceless against our own weaknesses, the deceptive allurements of the world, and the tricks and wiles of the devil. God’s grace, which is poured abundantly especially when we are in great need, would just go to waste.

It’s actually a crazy situation to be in, so it’s ironic that we tend to fall into it in spite of all the assurances of God’s presence and continuing guidance and help to us. We should learn to forget ourselves and think more of God and of the others.

So everyday, let’s come up with plans, strategies, means and devices that would help us to forget ourselves and focus ourselves more if not exclusively on God and the others. Christ has assured us that what we seem to lose for God’s sake, will gain us a lot more and with better things.

We really need to learn to humble ourselves!