I love how Enzo Bianchi in Echoes of the Words approaches the humility in the following phrases: “Humility is the mother, the root, the nurse, and the foundation of all the other virtues, and it is what holds them together,” wrote John Chrysostom. In this context, we can understand why Augustin sees “all of Christian discipline in humility alone” (Sermon 351.3.4 P. 146).
When meditating on these beautiful phrases that Bianchi offers us about humility, comes to my mind that beautiful scene when the Blessed Virgin Mary has that encounter with God through the Archangel Gabriel. After understanding the scene, a bit more, she overflows her being in one of the most beautiful prayers we have about humility; “And Mary said: ‘My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed...’” (Lk 1:46-55).
Undoubtedly, when we understand somehow the greatness of God, does not exist a better virtue that leads us to immerse ourselves in the Divine mystery than the humble attitude as believers. Humility is the fruit of the prayer of the heart, and at the same time, it is what allows us to see and to follow the path of Faith and Hope until we reach our definitive goal, which is the culmination of Love. The Catechism of the Catholic Church says, “...A trusting humility brings us back into the light of communion between the Father and his Son Jesus Christ and with one another…” (CCC #2631).
No one can imagine the transcendence of the Divine mystery, and much less being able to understand it on its moment, because it scapes to our capacities. Therefore, the only thing that remains for us is to take the humble attitude of the slave of the Lord. Thanks to her attitude, we can understand in our days the transcendence of that fact; that is serving others without expecting anything in return. When we are able to understand such an action, we will be able to carry Jesus to all those people with whom we are dealing.
In my personal prayer, I discovered how humility is the light through which I can illuminate my Christian life in all its aspects. Humility is a light in my home, because it leads me to resolve situations and to discover many times the richness that I am not able to see and to accept by myself. Humility also helps me at work, and even though it is hard for me many times, humility helps me to overcome barriers that my arrogance prevents me from doing it. In my parish ministry, humility is the light through which I strengthen the grace of being able to endure the difficulties and illuminate the actions I need to take.
I simply could not discover, acknowledge, and love God in my personal life without humility; much less, I could not serve well to my fellow men and to transmit it to them. Saint Teresa of Avila expresses it very beautifully: “Humility and generosity go together. The humility that does not imply generosity is false. More than a virtue, humility is the essence; that is why it is the main one and then embraces them all. (1M2,11).
Only in humility, we experience the joy of serving others; a joy that will also be discovered by those who live in the same spirit, since our joy is also their joy. We can see it clearly in our Mother, the Blessed Mary, in her visit to Saint Elizabeth: “But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy” (Lk.1:43-44). Certainly, humility will lead us constantly to discover Jesus in the most vulnerable, and this is the path that leads us to the Lord. That is why Teresa of Avila convinced said: “The true humble must be happy to go into the path that the Lord will lead” (The Way of Perfection 15, 2).
The Incarnation is the first demonstration of great humility from God; since He has stripped his Divine category and has assumed our human condition. It is something that no one creature could ever imagine; much less the culmination of that humble action, which is His suffering on Calvary and his death on the cross.
However, thanks to that humble gesture, human nature is redeemed and perfected, that is, deified. That is why all of us who are one in Jesus Christ harbor the joyful hope of the Resurrection. Recognizing our limitations, suffering the various humiliations of life, is the best way to prepare for the conquest of our ultimate goal: Eternal life.
Echoes of the Word, Enzo Bianchi, Paraclete Press, September 1, 2013
Las Moradas del Castillo Interior, Linkgua, August 31, 2010
Camino de Perfección, Teresa de Jesús, Limovia.net, October 20, 2015