Virtues can be either perfect or
imperfect depending on whether their source is our power of knowing
or our power of loving; whether they arise from what our mind can
reveal to us about ourselves or what God achieves within us when we
are united to him in perfect love.
In itself, humility is nothing else
but a true understanding and awareness of ourselves as we really
We can arrive at this
self-knowledge, and the humility born of it, through our power to
know, from observing and analyzing ourselves and accepting the truth
of what we see.
And what we see, more likely than
not, is a history of wretchedness and sinfulness. This is as far as
the power of knowing can take us.
Perfect humility, on the other
hand, arises when our love pierces the cloud of unknowing to
discover there the superabundant love of God himself.
At the sight of this, all creation
trembles, all learned men are fools, all the angels and saints are
blinded, and perfect humility is born in our lives.
We see ourselves as we really are,
not in the light of our imperfection but in the light of his
The Cloud of Unknowing