(Reposted to restore missing link from other published posts.)
Human beings are born proud. We believe that we alone can conquer everything that comes our way. Ignorance of our limitations, individuals insist on controlling themselves and everything and everyone around them. The necessity of humility is far from their actions, though they constantly way that they are “good people”.
But what entails being “good”? Is it to be in total control? Or is it found in the little practiced virtue of humility?
Humility can be thought of as being selfless; the willingness to do good to another in spite of the cost to one’s self.
It is the foundation of moral character.
Someone who is humble is a person who does not view themselves as someone who has the ability to do something alone.
It isn’t that they hate themselves and see others as better than themselves.
The Commandment isn’t, “Hate myself because I need to do everything for the sake of bettering someone else.” It is
“Love your neighbor as you love yourself.”
The temple of the Holy Spirit and our souls resides inside a weak vessel we recognize externally as a physical body. It houses the spiritual side of our being. What we feed our souls is reflected in the physical weaknesses of our bodies.
If we feed ourselves with hatred, the body responds being in constant fight mode. Nothing that happens, no person we encounter, is good enough to meet our high expectations.
Not even ourselves…
When someone seeks forgiveness, we slap them down and tell them that what they did isn’t worth forgiving. No matter how minor the offense.
And if something goes wrong, we take it out on everyone else as if it was their fault.
The body is used to lash out to others by using the tongue. And the anger boils inside us, often manifesting as cancer, drug abuse, alcoholism, etc.
The liver is said in oriental medicine to be indicative of anger. When the liver becomes ill, it is because of pent up anger. Those with cancer have seen improvement when anger is dealt with and eliminated in their lives.
Opportunities to gain humility often comes at a price. That price is encountering the painful lessons that come from encounters of humiliations with others.
People who oppose us are our greatest asset in gaining this virtue. When we lose our temper with perfect strangers, we have to recognize that the outcome is often over the top from a proper response. And if we reflect on the sin of our outbursts, we also can recognize the possibility to gain insight into our own weaknesses.
We are not God. And we are not perfect. But when we rely so much on ourselves, it often comes at a cost. That cost is humiliation.
Lessons learned or ignored…
Our response to that mortification determines how much we seek to perfect ourselves. If we grow angry, we remain proud, whether that is anger against ourselves for our outburst, or at others for not recognizing our righteous cause.
If we learn that we must accept everything that comes our way as coming from God for our greater good, then we will be more at peace. And if we seek to learn the lessons from those events, we will grow in virtue.
But if we choose to ignore those lessons, we will remain in a state of unrest and anger, blaming everyone and everything around us for our dis-ease. And we loudly proclaim to all the world that we are only victims of our circumstances. Our own noise drowns out the lessons we could be embracing to better ourselves.
Seeking the better part raises our human dignity to a higher level. It is this we should seek.
See humiliations in light of their real purpose: Learning to let go of ourselves and learning from our own mistakes. Learning, not hating, by recognizing that we are not perfect.
For if we choose evil, the lack of good, then we will never grow in humility or any other virtue. We remain our own god, and never rise above our own imperfections.