Saturday, May 9, 2009

Thoughts on Humility

Humility is essential to spiritual progress. Without humility we cannot come to God because without humility we cannot transcend ourselves.

Thomas Keating says there is no humility without humiliation. Most of us have already had a good dose of humiliation. Our life circumstances have provided it. By accepting humiliation we grow in humility.

We can do this because we believe God. We believe God loves us, and that over the long run he is working all things for good. We believe that originally—in our depths, in our essence—we were created good; we were created in God’s image. So we can abandon our surface self-created images of ourselves; we can abandon our embarrassment, shame, discouragement, and find courage and strength in God to live freely and strongly. We can do this because we have confidence in God, not in ourselves, because our lives are centered in God, not in ourselves. This kind of humility opens us to being continually aware of God's presence and to the acceptance of everyone with their limitations.



Paul Corrigan said...

Rickey, This is just what I needed to read today: "By accepting humiliation we grow in humility." I've been feeling a little embarrassed lately, about what exactly is inconsequential, though it is ironic that I was embarrassed about having not been as humble as I would have like to have been. What you are saying, though, is that indulging in embarrassment (or any of the other things on your list) is a further form of un-humility. But this is not to further condemn us--rather, what a gracious approach: we can let go of both our sense of accomplishment and sense of embarrassment precisely since God is in us loving us. Thank you!

Susan Price said...

One of the great paradoxes of life appears to be that so much that is ultimately good for us comes wrapped in pain of one sort or another. I've often wondered if it were possible to somehow discipline myself in order to avoid some of that bitter, harrowing and heart-rending humble pie. (It is so repulsive.)

There are numerous Bible verses that refer to humbling ourselves before God. The result of it is always good. I wish I could always remember that in the midst of my misery.

Daniel said...

I love the reminder that goodness "is in our depths," our beginnings, and that it grows or manifests "over the long run" through the awkwardness of life's growing pains. Speaking of humiliation as a growth opportunity or process reminds me of de Caussade's mention of "secret work" from Monday's Lectio passage. Humiliation is a facet of that: a disguised, humbling, and transformative work of the Spirit, if only we make ourselves available to the process.

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