Humiliation, or the Practice of Humility, is the Best Means of Rendering us Humble.

Humiliation, or the Practice of Humility, is the Best Means of Rendering us Humble.

PRAYER BEFORE MEDITATION.

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.

Humiliation, or the Practice of Humility, is the Best Means of Rendering us Humble.

There is an essential difference between humiliation and humility. Humiliation is an external fact which does not depend upon ourselves, and to which we are often subjected without desiring it. Humility is an internal fact, a disposition of the soul, which, believing itself to be contemptible, accepts humiliation as being a thing which it deserves; it is what we may call humility in practice, and what we believe to be the best means for becoming humble. In point of fact, neither the arts nor the sciences are learnt except by practice; the man who limited himself to understand the theory of medicine, of architecture, or of painting without proceeding to the practice of them would never become either a good doctor, or a good architect, or a good painter. With still stronger reason, he who does not exercise himself by means of humiliation in the practice of humility will never be humble. There is in humiliation something which makes nature afraid, and this fear, like all other kinds of fear, is only cured by affronting that which causes affright, and by proving in this way to ourselves that there was no reason to have been so troubled. At the beginning we hesitate; by degrees as we advance we become bolder; and we end not only by overcoming, but by loving humiliation, like St. John of the Cross, who desired no other recompense for all his apostolic labors except the contempt of man: “Lord Jesus, to be despised for Thy sake, that is the sole recompense I desire for all that I have done for Thee” he said to Our Lord, who had appeared to him. It is because humiliation is the direct path which leads to humility (St. Bernard, Ep. lxxxvii.), in the same way as patience leads to peace, study to knowledge. Whoever desires to be really humble ought to walk in the way of humiliation. In the same manner as an exterior act of pride produces or develops the interior sentiment, so an exterior act of humility, or, what is the same thing, a humiliation well received, increases in us the spirit of humility, because practice acts more strongly upon the will than thought or desire, because an object which is present touches us more than an object which is absent, and because experience teaches better than theory. Therefore Jesus Christ was not content with merely precepts of humility and with having a deep feeling of it in His heart; the whole of His life was a series of humiliations. And why, following His example, should we not accept them? There is nothing bad in contempt except what there is in our refusing to suffer it. Nothing is so contemptible as the horror we feel of contempt. A true humility accepts willingly a great or a small humiliation. He who cannot suffer the slightest mark of contempt has not the slightest humility, and we shall never make progress in virtue excepting in so far as we shall be content to be abject and counted as nothing in the opinion of others. Let us measure the degree of our virtue by this principle.

PRAYER AFTER MEDITATION.

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.

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October Devotions: The Holy Angels and the Holy Rosary

Virtue to practice: Confidence

PRAYER TO ST. RAPHAEL, ARCHANGEL. Glorious Archangel, St. Raphael, great prince of the heavenly court, illustrious by thy gifts of wisdom and grace, guide of travellers by land and sea, consoler of the unfortunate and refuge of sinners, I entreat thee to help me in all my needs and in all the trials of this life, as thou didst once assist the young Tobias in his journeying. And since thou art the “physician of God,” I humbly pray thee to heal my soul of its many infirmities and my body of the ills that afflict it, if this favor is for my greater good. I ask, especially, for angelic purity, that I may be made fit to be the living temple of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

His Holiness, Leo XIII., by a rescript of the S. Congr. of Indulgences, June 21, 1890, granted to the faithful who shall recite the above prayer AN INDULGENCE OF ONE HUNDRED DAYS, once a day. .


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