Humility is the Foundation of all Virtue.
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.
Humility is the Foundation of all Virtue.
We will meditate upon an eleventh reason for being very humble; it is that humility is the foundation and the guardian of all virtue. We will thence deduce the resolution: 1st, to watch over ourselves carefully in order to shut the door of our heart to all kinds of self-love, and constantly to maintain an attitude of humility; 2d, to oppose to the temptations of self-love these acts of humility, or others similar to them: My God, take pity on me, for I am proud; To Thee be glory, to me shame and confusion.
“Humility is the foundation and guardian of the virtues.” – St. Bernard
Let us adore Our Lord, who, beholding the great love which His Father entertained for humility, came and humbled Himself in this lower world, making Himself therein a man like us, hiding His divine nature, veiling all His perfections, and subjecting Himself to all our infirmities. Let us offer our homage to Our Saviour thus humiliated in order to give glory to God, and to us an example of which our pride was sorely in need.
If you asked me, says St. Augustine, What is the most fundamental thing in religion? I should answer: It is humility. What is the second? what is the third? I should still reply: It is humility. Humility is the first condition for doing all things well, for praying, for communicating, for having intercourse with our neighbor, for conquering temptations, for triumphing over our passions. Self-love can produce nothing but sin, or the false virtues, void of all merit, of the pagan philosophers, because it is only a miserable egotism which acts for itself alone, and which God cannot consequently recompense; it is a vicious inclination, which makes us live and act without having faith or grace, and solely from natural motives. Humility, on the contrary, the true seat of grace, the seed of glory, the characteristic of the elect, makes us live a supernatural life, and all the virtues repose upon it, as upon their foundation.
1st. Faith. The humble soul easily believes, because it mistrusts its own intelligence, because it finds its happiness, on the one hand, in abasing the presumption of its thoughts before the infinite knowledge of God; and on the other side, in enlarging its short-sightedness by everything that the divine light wills to reveal to it.
2d. Hope. The soul which is devoid of humility counts upon itself and never thinks of confiding in God. The humble soul, on the contrary, is happy to hope, because, not confiding in itself, it is glad to be able to throw itself upon God, who never forsakes those who trust in Him.
3d. Charity. The humble soul loves God with all its heart, because the more miserable it sees itself to be, the more rejoiced it is to behold that the divine mercy is greater still than all its miseries; the smaller it sees itself to be, the more inclined it is to love the eternal greatness which abased itself to such profound littleness; the more unworthy it feels itself to be loved by so holy a God, the more it loves Him and attaches itself to Him. The humble soul is not less disposed to be charitable towards its neighbor to the extent of suffering everything from him without making him suffer aught, because it believes him to be much above itself.
4th. Conformity to the will of God, which is the sum total of all virtue. The humble soul is resigned and courageous beneath the weight of all trials, because it says to itself: I have deserved far worse for my sins; what is all that I suffer compared to hell, where I deserve to burn eternally? So true it is that humility is the foundation of all virtue. Have we hitherto right]y understood it?
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.
September Devotion: The Holy Cross
Virtues to practice: Piety, fervor in the performance of sacred duties, the spirit of prayer
O Mary, most holy Virgin and Queen of Martyrs, accept the sincere homage of my filial affection. Into thy heart, pierced by so many swords, do thou welcome my poor soul. Receive it as the companion of thy sorrows at the foot of the Cross, on which Jesus died for the redemption of the world. With thee, O sorrowful Virgin, I will gladly suffer all the trials, contradictions, and infirmities which it shall please our Lord to send me. I offer them all to thee in memory of thy sorrows, so that every thought of my mind, and every beat of my heart may be an act of compassion and of love for thee. And do thou, sweet Mother, have pity on me, reconcile me to thy divine Son Jesus, keep me in His grace and assist me in my last agony, so that I may be able to meet thee in heaven and sing thy glories. Amen.
An indulgence of 500 days (taken from The Raccolta (c)1957).
Copyright © Holy Cross Publications, 2013 – 2018. All rights reserved. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Holy Cross Publications with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.