What we must Understand by Humility.

Happy feast day of St. Philomena! St. Philomena, ora pro nobis.

What we must Understand by Humility.


My God, I firmly believe that Thou art here present. I acknowledge that on account of my many sins I am utterly unworthy to appear before Thy sacred countenance. Yet, confiding in Thy infinite goodness and mercy, I venture to address Thee, to call upon Thy holy name, and meditate upon Thy commandments, in order that I may acquire a better knowledge of Thy holy will, and accomplish it with more fidelity. Wherefore enlighten my understanding that I may perceive what I ought to do or leave undone for the promotion of Thy glory and my own salvation; at the same time excite my will, that I may repent with my whole heart of my past sins, and resolve for the future to do all that Thou requirest of me. Grant me above all to know Jesus, my divine Teacher and Guide, more clearly, that I may love Him more dearly, and consequently labor, struggle and suffer with greater generosity and self-sacrifice in imitation of His example. Holy Mary, Mother of God and my Mother, show Jesus to me now, and let me study thy divine Son to the salvation of my soul. Holy Guardian Angel, keep far from me all distracting thoughts; my patron saint, come to my assistance. Amen.

What we must Understand by Humility.

We will meditate upon the virtues which constitute this life. We will begin with humility, of which the gospel makes so magnificent an eulogium, and which may be called the first of the virtues, because it is the foundation of them all. We shall see in our meditation: 1st, what must be understood by humility; 2d, how reasonable, thus understood, is humility. We will then make the resolution: 1st, to make humility our virtue of predilection and to ask it earnestly of God; 2d, not to allow a single day to pass without performing some interior or exterior act of humility.

Humble thyself in all things and thou shalt find grace before God” (Ecclus. iii. 10).

Let us adore the Son of God descending from heaven to earth to teach us humility by means of His heavenly doctrine, and still more by His example, since the whole of His life, from Bethlehem to Calvary, was nothing but a continual lesson of humility. Let us confess that as His eternal majesty was continually humiliated, it would be intolerable behavior on our part to be puffed up with pride and vanity. Let us render all our homage to this humbled God.

Humility consists in despising ourselves, because we see that we are supremely contemptible, and to feel it to be only right that others should despise us, because it is right that what is contemptible should be despised. It does not consist, therefore, either in humble words which are contrary to our thoughts, or in a modest exterior hiding a soul which esteems itself and endeavors to obtain the esteem of others. Humility is the frankness of an upright soul which desires only that which it knows to be true, which wills and loves what is true, even when what is true humiliates and confounds it. It says to itself: I have nothing in myself which belongs to me; my mind, God has made it and can withdraw it from me at any moment; a slight derangement of the brain is sufficient to make the greatest intellect lose all its genius, and the wisest all his knowledge, and even his reason. I have no virtue in myself; if there be any in me, it is the doing of grace, and the slightest temptation can overthrow it. Even my body does not belong to me; God has made it such as it is, He has lent it to me, and the slightest accident can change its form or its beauty. To this nothingness of the whole of my being I have added sin, which has rendered me worthy of the eternal contempt of the whole of hell. And as the sum-total of all my miseries, I am incapable of all good, even of one single thought or word, which might be of use for my salvation; capable of all kinds of evil, since there is not, says St. Augustine, any sin committed by a man of which another man would not be capable if the grace of God did not hold him back. Now in such conditions as these I can neither esteem myself nor desire to be esteemed, without being guilty of injustice and falsehood; I ought to despise myself, to love contempt, obscurity, and humiliation, through love of truth, which cries to me from out of the bottom of my conscience that such is the portion of nothingness and of sin. I ought, consequently, to put away from me all thoughts imbued with pride, self-love, ambition, pretension, and susceptibility. I ought to be content to be nothing, and to be looked upon as nothing. Is it thus that I have hitherto understood humility?


My God, I give Thee heartfelt thanks for all the graces and all the light Thou hast conferred on me during this meditation. Pardon me all the negligence and the distractions of which I have been guilty, and give me strength to carry out the resolutions that I have made. Fortify me, that from henceforth I may diligently practise this virtue . . . avoid this fault . . . perform this action . . . to Thy honor. Help me to do this, sweet Virgin Mary; and if I ever forget my good resolutions, I entreat my Angel Guardian to recall them to my memory. Amen.


August Devotion: The Most Pure Heart of Mary

Virtue to practice: The sanctification of our actions, diligence, edification, fidelity in little things

O Heart of Mary, Mother of God, and our Mother; Heart most worthy of love, in which the adorable Trinity is ever well pleased, worthy of the veneration and love of all the angels and of all men; Heart most like to the Heart of Jesus, of which thou art the perfect image; Heart full of goodness, ever compassionate toward our miseries; deign to melt our icy hearts and grant that they may be wholly changed into the likeness of the Heart of Jesus, our divine Saviour. Pour into them the love of thy virtues, and kindle in them that divine fire with which thou thyself dost ever burn. In thee let Holy Church find a safe shelter; protect her and be her dearest refuge, her tower of strength, impregnable against every assault of her enemies. Be thou the way which leads to Jesus, and the channel, through which we receive all graces needful for our salvation. Be our refuge in time of trouble, our solace in the midst of trial, our strength against temptation, our haven in persecution, our present help in every danger, and especially at the hour of death, when all hell shall let loose against us its legions to snatch away our souls, at that dread moment, that hour so full of fear, whereon our eternity depends. Ah, then most tender virgin, make us to feel the sweetness of thy motherly heart, and the might of thy intercession with Jesus, and open to us a safe refuge in that very fountain of mercy whence we may come to praise Him with thee in paradise, world without end. Amen.

An indulgence of 7 years once on any day of the month; A plenary indulgence on the usual conditions, if this act of devotion is repeated daily for entire month (Apostolic Brief Dec. 21, 1901).

Prayers to St. Philomena

Novena to St. Philomena (from July 1st through August 10th)

Illustrious Virgin and Martyr, St. Philomena, behold me kneeling in spirit before the throne on which it has pleased the Most Holy Trinity to place thee. Full of confidence in thy protection, I beseech thee to intercede for me with God. From the height of thy heavenly country, deign to cast a look upon thy humble servant. Spouse of Jesus Christ, console me in my troubles, strengthen me in temptations, protect me in the dangers which surround me on every side; obtain all the graces necessary for me, especially (here mention your particular intention), and, above all, assist me at my death. Amen.

For Victory over Temptations.

O God, who dost sustain us by the merits and example of the blessed Philomena, Virgin and Martyr, mercifully grant that, strengthened in faith and charity, we may never be separated from Thee by any temptation. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

For Growth in Virtues.

O glorious Virgin! whose glory God has been pleased to make known by singular miracles, we address ourselves to thee with entire confidence. Obtain for us that, following thy example, we may fight courageously against whatever is opposed to the reign of Jesus Christ in our heart; that we may adorn our souls with virtues like thine, particularly with that angelic purity of which thou art the perfect model; and that inflamed with the love of Jesus, we may continually walk in the way which He has marked out, to the end that we may one day partake of thy everlasting happiness. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, who with the Father and the Holy Ghost, lives and reigns one God in perfect Trinity, for ever and ever. Amen.

Prayer for Purity.

O glorious Saint Philomena, who, animated by a burning love for Jesus our Savior, didst shine in Holy Church by the splendor of perfect virginity and the practice of the most heroic virtues, obtain for us of thy Divine Spouse the grace to keep ever unsullied the precious treasure of chastity and to practice with generosity the virtues of our state, that having, after thy example, walked in His footsteps during our life on earth, we may, with thee, rejoice in His glory eternally.

Saint Philomena, happy virgin, adorned with all the charm of innocence, and beautified, besides, with the purple of martyrdom, obtain for us the grace to know how to suffer all, and to sacrifice all in order to be faithful to God till death, and possess Him eternally in paradise. Amen.

For Detachment from Earthly Goods.

O Saint Philomena, faithful virgin and glorious martyr, who so courageously preferred to the visible goods of this world the invisible goods of a holy eternity, obtain for us a lively faith, an ardent charity, and a piety always increasing, in order that, faithfully serving our Lord Jesus Christ during our life, we may merit after our death the happiness of contemplating Him face to face in life eternal. Amen.

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