ADVENT MEDITATION: In Defense Of Humility by Bernard of Clairvaux

November 28, 2018

From Annunciation Dialogue “Behold,” Mary said, “the handmaid of the Lord. Be it unto me according to your word.” The virtue of humility is always found closely associated with divine grace: for God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. (James 4:6) Mary replies then with humility, that the dwelling of grace may be prepared.  How sublime is this humility, which is incapable of yielding to the weight of honors, or of being rendered proud by them!  The mother of God is chosen, and she declares herself his handmaid. It is in truth a mark of no ordinary humility that even when so great an honor is given her, she does not forget to be humble.  It is no great thing to be humble when in a low condition; but humility in one [...]

PRAYER: A Prayer For Humility by Andrew Murray

August 6, 2018

From Humility, The Journey Toward Holiness  The secret of secrets: humility is the soul of true prayer.  Until the spirit of the heart is renewed, until it is emptied of all Earthly desires and stands in a habitual hunger and thirst after God, which is the true spirit of prayer, until then, all our prayer will be more or less like lessons given to students.  We will mostly say them only because we dare not neglect them.  But be not discouraged; take the following advice, and then you may go to church without any danger of mere lip-service or hypocrisy, although there may be a hymn or a prayer whose language is higher than that of your heart.  Go to the church as the tax collector went to the temple; stand inwardly, in the spirit of [...]

HUMILITY: Humility And Exaltation by Andrew Murray

July 13, 2018

From Humility I used to think that God’s gifts were on shelves – one above another – and the taller we grow, the easier we can reach them.  Now I find that God’s gifts are on shelves – and the lower we stoop, the more we get. (F. B. Meyer)   He who humbles himself will be exalted. (Luke 14:11; 18:14)   God gives grace to the humble.  Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. (James 4:6, 10)   Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. (1 Peter 5:6) Recently I was asked the question, “How can I overcome my pride?”  The answer is simple.  Two things are needed.  Do what God says to do: humble yourself.  Trust him to do what he says he will [...]

HUMILITY: Humility And Happiness by Andrew Murray

June 29, 2018

From Humility Should you ask me: What is the first thing in religion?  I should reply: the first, second, and third thing therein is humility. (Augustine) Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses.  For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:9-10) It seems that Paul’s thorn in the flesh was sent to humble him so that he might not exalt himself as a result of the great revelations given to him.  Paul’s first desire was to have the thorn removed, and he asked the Lord three times that it might be taken away.  The answer came to him that the trial was a blessing – that through the weakness and [...]

HUMILITY: Humility And Death To Self by Andrew Murray

June 14, 2018

From Humility Humility is the most difficult of all virtues to achieve; nothing dies harder than the desire to think well of oneself. (T. S. Eliot)   He humbled himself and became obedient to death. (Philippians 2:8) Humility is the path to death, because in death it gives the highest proof of its perfection.  Humility is the blossom of which death to self is the perfect fruit.  Jesus humbled himself unto death and opened the path in which we too must walk.  As there was no way for him to prove his surrender to God to the uttermost or to give up and rise out of our human nature to the glory of the Father but through death, so it is with us.  Humility must lead us to die to self: so we prove how wholly we have given ourselves up to [...]

HUMILITY: Humility And Faith by Andrew Murray

June 7, 2018

From Humility Be not angry that you cannot make others as you wish them to be, since you cannot make yourself as you wish yourself to be. (Thomas à Kempis)   How can you believe if you accept praise from one another, yet make no effort to obtain the praise that comes from the only God? (John 5:44) In an address I heard recently, the speaker said that the blessings of the higher Christian life were often like the objects displayed in a shop window: one could see them clearly and yet could not reach them.  If told to reach out and help himself, a man would answer, “I can’t; there’s a thick pane of plate glass between me and them.”  In the same way, Christians may see clearly the blessed promises of perfect peace and rest, [...]

HUMILITY: Humility And Sin by Andrew Murray

May 31, 2018

From Humility Nothing sets a person so much out of the devil’s reach as humility. (Jonathan Edwards) Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners – of whom I am the worst. (1 Timothy 1:15) Humility is often identified with penitence and contrition.  As a consequence, there appears to be no way of fostering humility but by keeping the soul occupied with its sin.  But I think we have learned that humility is something else and something more than being consumed with our own sinfulness.  We have seen in the teaching of our Lord Jesus and the Epistles how often the virtue is mentioned without any reference to sin.  In the very nature of things, in the whole relationship of the creature to the Creator, in the life of Jesus as he [...]

HUMILITY: Humility And Holiness by Andrew Murray

May 24, 2018

From Humility It is no great thing to be humble when you are brought low; but to be humble when you are praised is a great and rare achievement. (Bernard of Clairvaux) All day long I have held out my hands to an obstinate people who say, “Keep away; don’t come near me, for I am too scared for you!” (Isaiah 65:2,5) We speak of the holiness movement in our times and praise God for it.  We hear a great deal of seekers after holiness and professors of holiness, of holiness teaching and holiness meetings.  The blessed truths of holiness in Christ and holiness by faith are being emphasized as never before.  The great test of whether the holiness we profess to seek or to attain is truth and life will be whether it is manifest in the [...]

HUMILITY: Humility In Daily Life by Andrew Murray

May 12, 2018

From Humility The more humble a man is in himself, the more obedient toward God, the wiser will he be in all things, and the more shall his soul be at peace. (Thomas à Kempis)   For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. (1 John 4:20) It is a solemn thought that our love for God is measured by our everyday relationships with others.  Except as its validity is proven in standing the test of daily life with our fellowmen, our love for God may be found to be a delusion.  It is easy to think that we humble ourselves before God, but our humility toward others is the only sufficient proof that our humility before God is real.  To be genuine, humility must abide in us and become our [...]

HUMILITY: Humility In The Disciples Of Jesus by Andrew Murray

May 5, 2018

From Humility God created the world out of nothing, and as long as we are nothing, he can make something out of us. (Martin Luther)     The greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves. (Luke 22:26) We have studied humility in the person and teaching of Jesus; now we will look for it in the circle of his chosen companions – the twelve apostles.  If we see a lack of humility in the disciples, and a contrast between Christ and men is brought out more clearly, it will help us to appreciate the mighty change that Pentecost brought and prove how real our participation can be in the triumph of Christ’s humility over the pride Satan breathed into humankind. In the texts quoted from [...]

HUMILITY: Humility In The Teaching Of Jesus by Andrew Murray

April 26, 2018

From Humility Humility must always be doing its work like a bee making its honey in the hive: without humility all will be lost. (Teresa of Ávila)     Learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart. (Matthew 11:29) Whoever wants to be first must be your slave – just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve. (Matthew 20:27-28) We see humility in the life of Christ demonstrated in how he laid open his heart to us.  Through his teaching we hear him speak of it – how he expects his disciples to be humble as he was.  Let us carefully study the passages to see how often and how earnestly he taught it: it may help us to realize what he asks of us. Look at the commencement of his ministry. In the Sermon on the [...]

HUMILITY: Humility In The Life Of Jesus by Andrew Murray

April 19, 2018

From Humility The only hope of a decreasing self is an increasing Christ. (F. B. Meyer)   I am among you as one who serves. (Luke 22:27) In the gospel of John we have the inner life of our Lord laid open before us.  Jesus spoke frequently of his relationship to the Father, of the motives by which he was guided, of his consciousness of the power and Spirit in which he acted.  Though the word humble does not occur in scripture, the humility of Christ is clearly revealed.  We have already said that this virtue is nothing but the simple consent of the creature to let God be all, the surrender of itself to his working alone.  In Jesus we see how both as the Son of God in Heaven and the Son of Man on Earth, he took the place of entire [...]

HUMILITY: The Secret Of Redemption by Andrew Murray

April 12, 2018

From Humility If you are looking for an example of humility, look at the cross. (Thomas Aquinas) Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death – even death on the cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name. (Philippians 2:5-9) No tree can grow except on the root from which it sprang.  Through all its existence it can only live by the life that was in the seed that gave it being.  The full [...]

HUMILITY: The Glory Of The Creature by Andrew Murray

April 5, 2018

From Humility Humility is the proper estimate of oneself. (Charles Spurgeon) They lay their crowns before the throne and say: “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being. (Revelation 4:10-11) When God created the universe, it was with the objective of making those he created partakers of his perfection and blessedness, thus showing forth the glory of his love and wisdom and power.  God desired to reveal himself in and through his creatures by communicating to them as much of his own goodness and glory as they were capable of receiving.  But this communication was not meant to give created beings something they could possess [...]

POETRY: Te Deum by Charles Reznikoff

August 29, 2017

O sing unto the Lord a new song; for he hath done marvelous things: his right hand, and his holy arm, hath gotten him the victory. (Psalm 98:1) Not because of victories I sing, Having none, but for the common sunshine, the breeze, the largess of the spring. Not for victory but for the day’s work done as well as I was able; not for a seat upon the dais but at the common [...]

FAITH: Growth Through Humility by The Venerable Bede, Priest and Confessor

February 23, 2017

And it came to pass that there met him ten men that were lepers. They may well be described as lepers who, while having no true knowledge of the faith, profess a variety of heretical teachings. For such people do not hide their ignorance, but proclaim it as the height of learning; priding themselves on what they have to say. There is no false doctrine in which some truth is not mingled. True doctrine therefore mixed without order with what is false, in a man’s discussion or conversation, and showing like the colors in a body, resemble the leprosy that spots and blemishes the human body with patches of true and false color. Such persons are to be excluded from the church so that, if it is possible, placed afar off they may with a loud [...]

FORGIVENESS: Humility, or The Tale of Two Shawls

February 18, 2017

I have been studying what I thought was a “new” form of evil.  New to me, that is. Turns out, though, I studied it for years when I was half my age. Because it was only a study back then, and because the study was very intense, it left some terror in my soul. I’m very efficient about my emotions: if I don’t need them right here, right now for whatever it is I am doing, then they get stowed away. This terror had been stowed away – very much out of sight, out of mind – until the door was flung open and there it was. And here this study is again now. But what I realized was that when I had studied this particular form of evil, I had never come up with the understanding of what kind of spiritual weapon would be [...]

HUMILITY: On How Our Lord Went On Monday To Preach In The Temple, Where He Praised The Poor Widow’s Offering, And Returned To Bethany In The Evening, by Isabel de Villena

February 16, 2017

From Vita Christi Our merciful Lord, realizing that his mission was coming to an end, and that the term of his life would soon be over, with courageous spirit forced himself to preach, going every day from Bethany to Jerusalem, presenting himself at the temple, and proclaiming his divine teaching to those who wished to hear it.  Even so, ill will was already to widespread among the entire people that very few wished to hear him, but rather they fled from any location where His Majesty was, feeling deeply ashamed to have his friendship. And, therefore, the holy Apostles and all the others who followed him at that time are fittingly exalted and deservingly rewarded, for great love and faith must have kept them steadfast while they saw Our [...]

HUMILITY: The Widow’s Mite, by A Sister of Mercy

February 14, 2017

From: Contemplations and Meditations on the Public Life of Our Lord Jesus Christ: According to the Method of St. Ignatius; Revised by W. J. Amherst And Jesus, sitting over against the treasury, beheld how the people cast money therein, and many that were rich cast in much. And there came a certain poor widow, and she cast in two mites. And, calling his disciples together, he saith to them : Amen, I say to you, this poor widow hath cast in more than all they who have cast into the treasury. For they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want hath cast in all she had, even her whole living. (Mark 12: 41-44) Preparatory Prayer: Grant, O my God, that during this meditation all my actions, all my intentions, and all the operations of [...]

PRAYER: A Scriptural Rosary Novena Of Meditations On Humility

February 14, 2017

From Scriptural Rosary First Day — Matthew 7:1-5 Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye. Second Day — Matthew 11:25-30 At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of Heaven and Earth, because thou hast hid these [...]

PRAYER: Litany For Humility

February 13, 2017

From: Our Catholic Prayers (First published on The Value of Sparrows on April 16, 2012.) The litany of humility, for private devotions, is a moving prayer that can bring us closer to Christ. Do you worry constantly about what others think of you? Do you feel empty or frustrated if you’re not the center of attention? The litany of humility asks for our Lord’s assistance in humbly following in his footsteps and casting aside, or at least offering up to him, all those nagging doubts and fears that come with our self-centeredness. Our Lord asks us in Matthew’s gospel to learn from him, “for I am meek and humble of heart,” as he is described in the first line of this prayer below. We ask in this litany, composed by Rafael Cardinal [...]


December 3, 2016

From The Fruits of the Spirit Humility and moderation at the heart of our prayer quiet the soul and protect us against the spiritual itch.  It sometimes comes into my head, says De Caussade, to wonder whether I have ever properly confessed my sins, whether God has ever forgiven me my sins, whether I am in a good or bad spiritual state.  What progress have I made in prayer or in the interior life?  When this happens I say to myself at once, God has chosen to hide all this from me, so that I may just blindly abandon myself to his mercy.  So I submit myself and adore his decision.  He is the Master: may all that he wills be accomplished in me; I want no grace, no merit, no perfection but that which shall please him.  His will alone [...]

WISDOM: Humility by Joan Chittister

December 6, 2015

From Illuminated Life: Monastic Wisdom for Seekers of Light Abba Xanthias said, “A dog is better than I am because a dog also has love but, unlike I myself, the dog does not pass judgment.” Abba Sarmatas said: “I prefer a person who has sinned if he knows that he sinned and has repented, over a person who has not sinned and considers himself to be righteous.”   H umility and contemplation are the invisible twins of the spiritual life. One without the other is impossible. In the first place, there is no such thing as a contemplative life without the humility that takes us beyond the myth of our own grandeur to the cosmic grandeur of God.  In the second, once we really know the grandeur of God we get the rest [...]

PRAYER: A New Serenity Prayer, by James Martin

July 2, 2015

God, grant me the serenity to accept the people I cannot change, which is pretty much everyone, since I’m clearly not you, God. At least not the last time I checked. And while you’re at it, God, please give me the courage to change what I need to change about myself, which is frankly a lot, since, once again, I’m not you, which means I’m not perfect. It’s better for me to focus on changing myself than to worry about changing other people, who, as you’ll no doubt remember me saying, I can’t change anyway. Finally, give me the wisdom to just shut up whenever I think that I’m clearly smarter than everyone else in the room, that no one knows what they’re talking about except me, or that I alone have all the answers. [...]


March 28, 2015

From The Fruits of the Spirit “Though I give my body to be burned,” said Saint Paul, “and have not love, I am nothing.”  I do not as a supernatural being exist.  And now he gives us another and much more surprising test of spiritual vitality.  Though you feel an unconquerable love, joy, and peace, though you are gentle, long-suffering, good in all your personal relationships, though you are utterly faithful in your service of God – in the end the only proof that all this is truly the fruit of the Spirit, Christ in you and not just your own idea, is the presence of the last two berries on the bunch: not showy berries, not prominently placed, but absolutely decisive for the classification of the plant. [...]

SPIRITUAL FORMATION: Keep Water Over The Door Of My Lips by Lois M. Farag

March 7, 2015

From Balance of the Heart The Tongue, Slander, Silence, and Judgment Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips. (Psalm 141:3) James in his epistle discusses the threat of the tongue.  The tongue is as treacherous as a fire in a forest: once the fire ignites it takes a long time to control, and even if it is controlled, there is always damage.  James also says that the tongue “stains the whole body.”  The stain is a sign that the body has become impure.  The tongue is hard to control or “tame” and is “a restless evil full of deadly poison.”  What is even worse, the tongue curses “those who are made in the likeness of God.”  This is a very scary depiction of [...]

WAR AND PEACE: On Peace, by Smaragdus of Saint- Mihiel

June 30, 2014

From The Crown of Monks None exalt themselves more with God than those who for God’s sake humble themselves in their own estimation.  The humble are exalted by God so as to be called children of God and heirs of Christ.  Only let them pursue peace, because the children of peace must seek and pursue peace. This is the thrust of the apostle’s admonition when he says, Pursue peace with everyone, and the holiness without which no one will see God. (Hebrews 12:14)  The Lord himself also says in the gospel: Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. (Matthew 5:9)  Among his divine commands and saving teachings, when he was very near his passion, the Savior entrusted this precept and commandment to [...]

PRAYER: Listening by Murray Bodo

June 5, 2014

From Song of the Sparrow The art of listening.  How hard it is to cultivate.  We seem to be able to listen to others only so long before we start talking ourselves, usually about ourselves.  It is that way with prayer, too.  The hardest part is the listening, the quiet, the patience it takes to be still and wait upon God.  We always want to start talking, and yet what more can we say beyond the words Christ gave us in the “Our Father”?  If we spent time in prayer saying the “Our Father” once and then listening for the remainder of the time we set aside for prayer, it would be one of the best disciplines possible in learning to pray.  But we are uncomfortable with silence, with waiting for the other to speak. [...]

LENT: Thursday of the Fourth Week in Lent, by Henri J. M. Nouwen

March 14, 2013

From Show Me The Way How can you believe since you look to each other for glory and are not concerned with the glory that comes from the one God? —John 5:44 I have gradually become aware how central this word glory is in John’s Gospel.  There is God’s glory, the right glory that leads to life.  And there is human glory, the vain glory that leads to death.  All through his Gospel, John shows how we are tempted to prefer vain glory over the glory that comes from God. Human glory is always connected with some form of competition.  Human glory is the result of being considered better, faster, more beautiful, more powerful, or more successful than others.  Glory conferred by people is glory which results from being [...]

LENTEN FIRE: Wednesday Of The Fourth Week Of Lent

March 14, 2013

From Becoming Fire: Through the Year with the Desert Fathers and Mothers  Dress like the tax collector Abba Evagrius said: “I visited Abba Macarius and said to him, ‘Tell me a word so I may live.’ He said to me, ‘If I speak to you, will you listen and do it?’ I said to him, ‘My faith and my love are not hidden from you.’ Abba Macarius said to me, ‘Truly I lack the adornment of virtue; you, however are good.  But if you cast of the pridefulness of this world’s rhetoric and clothe yourself in the humility of the tax collector, (Luke 18:9-14), you will live.'” Friends indeed A brother in a monastery was falsely accused of fornication and he arose and went to Abba Antony.  The [...]