AN EXHORTATION ON HUMILITY (PALM
Christ calls us to great
action; so He places Himself and the Father as an exemplar to be
imitated. They persecuted Me, so they will persecute you. Learn from
Me. Be ye merciful as your heavenly Father is merciful. And when St.
Paul exhorts us to be humble, he set Christ as the example,
"Though He was rich, yet for your sakes, He became poor."
Man will only do great things if
the example of great men are set before him, but more specially the
example of God. Thus, St. Paul calls us to humility and sets Christ
as the example, "He counted it not a prize to be on an equality
with God but emptied Himself, taking upon Himself the form of a
Humility is not the deprivation of
your rights; it is not debasing oneself. It is freely laying aside
the dignity we possess, confident we can take it up anytime. Christ
could not lay aside His Divine Nature; so He hid it and freely made
Himself inferior. He hid it, He emptied Himself, He humbled Himself
and became obedient unto death. How do you do this? "By each
counting the other better than oneself." To be subjected not in
accord with one's free will is not an act of humility.
Christ took up a human nature to
teach us humility. "He humbled Himself, becoming obedient unto
death, yes, unto death on a cross." His obedience was
voluntary, like one's obedience to a friend. He served but did not
fall into a servile state.
In His humility, He became a
servant; and He went further, He underwent death; and He went
further, He died an ignominious death, full of shame and accursed.
The devil tried to disband His Church, first, by His death. If this
did not work, he would try to disband the Church by the manner of
What is to be humble? To be blamed,
to be accused and calumniated. What is to be exalted? To be honored,
to be praised, to be glorified. Satan was an angel; he exalted
himself and he was humbled beyond all others. Paul was a man; he
humbled himself. Now he is praised, admired and lauded; he
commanded the devil as a captive slave.
The publican was humble but his
humility was not true humility in that he was behaving according to
The proud and the humble both
receive honors. But the proud seek the honors while the humble run
away from it. It is nice to honor those who run away from it; it is
disgusting to honor those who crave for it. Do not exalt yourself;
let others do it. Exalt yourself and others will not exalt
you. Humble yourself and others will not humble you.
Pride is a great evil. It is better
to be a fool than to be proud. Because being a fool is just an
intellectual defect. Pride is a personality defect. A fool harms
himself. A proud man harms even others. And a fool is seldom a proud
man. But a proud man is always a fool. There is more hope in a fool
than in a proud man.
St. Maximus of Turin