Humility is the antidote to the world’s ills…

Isaiah 37:30-32 And this shall be the sign for you: This year eat what grows of itself, and in the second year what springs from that; then in the third year sow, reap, plant vineyards, and eat their fruit. The surviving remnant of the house of Judah shall again take root downwards, and bear fruit upwards; for from Jerusalem a remnant shall go out, and from Mount Zion a band of survivors. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.

 “Children, again and again I have told you, do not be afraid! Surrender to me. Live in my will. Be docile, humble, little. Filter your thoughts through the sieve of humility. Use the finest sieve to filter out the least impurity of pride. Pride is what you must fear. Let humility be your safety. Ask our Mother to teach you the ways of humility. No creature was ever more perfectly humble, perfectly human than she was. Even now she keeps nothing for herself, but everything that comes to her passes out again. The prayers of the faithful she adorns with her merits and presents to her Son. The graces showered on her by the Holy Trinity she in turn showers on all who receive them with a sincere heart. Take heed my children—humility is the antidote to the world’s ills. Ponder this, my children. It has never been more urgently needed.”

Heavenly Father, humility is a difficult discipline and we buck against it. Therefore, through the limitless graces that flow from our Mother, grant us every grace we need to grow in humility. Mother Mary, teach us! Queen of Humility, lead us! Amen.

 


 

Addendum: Here are some articles to help us understand what it means to be humble. It is more complex–and more simple–than we think!  The Catholic Encyclopedia has a good article on it, and the Litany of Humility, is an ideal aid against inordinate desires that lead to pride. Notice it says “From the DESIRE of…..Jesus deliver me.” That means that when we are praised, extolled, loved, etc., these things are not wrong. It is when we DESIRE these things that we exit humility. Whether we are extolled or reviled it should elicit the same response in our souls—praised be Jesus in all things forever! Finally, here is an article from a non-Catholic source that also is helpful. I have not vetted the entire site, but this article on The Meaning of Humility is worth sharing. If you have found other sites that assist in this virtue, please pass them on. I will start a new page on growing in humility. In light of this message, I think it warrants its own space.

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34 thoughts on “Humility is the antidote to the world’s ills…

    1. Nell that is a great article! Thank you! I think I may add it as an addendum to the post above. The virtue of humility in Catholic understanding is a bit more complex. The Catholic Encyclopedia has a good article on it as well. And there is always the Litany of Humility, which is an aid against inordinate desires that lead to pride. Notice it says “From the desire of…Jesus deliver me.” That means that when we are praised, extolled, loved, etc., these things are not wrong. It is when we DESIRE these things that we exit humility. Whether we are extolled or reviled it should elicit the same response in our souls—praised be Jesus in all things forever!

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  1. Amen!

    “Little children follow and obey their father. They love their mother. They know nothing of covetousness, ill-will, bad temper, arrogance and lying. This state of mind opens the road to heaven. To imitate our Lord’s own humility, we must return to the simplicity of God’s little ones.” (St. Hilary of Poitiers)

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  2. Thanks for the extra attention to pride/humility, it has been the thorn in my side from my earliest memories. As a child I was even jealous of Jesus because I wanted to be God’s “special one”. I see now that it is the same sin lucifer had. Very chilling.
    Last year for me was learning “trust”; part of which involved rethinking my “prepping” since it showed a serious lack of trust (actually more like sheer terror at the thought of being without my “comforts”). I even gave up the motorhome which I had nicknamed “the ark”. I still miss it, I felt so safe in it surrounded by my “things”–which is what told me it had to go–I need to learn to feel safe in God: )
    This year it’s humility. Boy I’ve got a lot of work to do!
    Next year will probably be vanity because every time I hear “The Storm” I think “oh no, my hair!” (joke)
    pcj

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  3. Thank you Peli, for the RC sites. I used to say the Litany of Humility fervently after Mass, daily for years. I found it took me down a path of abandonment which I could not handle on my own. I asked the Lord for a holy priest to guide me and I received a wonderful priest/ spiritual director, who helped me when these things happened in my life. Pride still surfaces in me when these things happen- then I remember the Lit. of Humility. But I must admit my 64 year old mind didn’t think of it when I read this new post.t
    I think a warning should be put on this prayer!- To make souls aware that these humbling happenings can happen, which can test our desires… when others receive and we are left behind. It is a great spiritual workout, we can chose to be purified in the process of being unnoticed, set aside, loved less, etc.
    It teaches us to be third… Jesus first, others second, me last. I’ll have to work on this all my life.

    Here’s the last half of that prayer:

    “That others may be loved more than I,
    Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

    That others may be esteemed more than I …
    That, in the opinion of the world,
    others may increase and I may decrease …
    That others may be chosen and I set aside …
    That others may be praised and I unnoticed …
    That others may be preferred to me in everything…
    That others may become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should…”

    Again, thank you Peli. I always look forward to your messages.

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  4. You know, I’m laughing but there actually are several depending on your hair needs.
    St Martin de Porres is the patron of hair dressers. Cant you just see me, in the wind and the rain, clinging to a tree, crying out “oh St Martin, help me, I’m a MESS!”:0)

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  5. Peli’s chosen Scripture has many overtones, because 2015 is a ‘schmitah’ year. As the author says here, every 7th year it was forbidden by the Mosaic Law to work the land, so dependence on God (they don’t write any form of the Name, which is why it says G-d) was paramount. Talk about trust and humility! In an agrarian society, not planting was like not getting a paycheck and hoping you could pay the bills from bits of money that might come in. An explanation from a Jewish source follows:

    ‘This year, 5768 in the Jewish calendar, is a Shmita year. Shmita is a year-long observance of not working the land. Originally a biblical commandment, today it is observed as a rabbinical ordinance. Shmita is connected with the Jubilee year, which came every 50 years. The Jubilee year which came after each seventh Shmita year included refraining from working the land like Shmita, but added the release of all indentured servants and the return of certain purchased lands to their original owners…

    During the Shemita year it is forbidden for Jews who live in the Land of Israel to work the land for agricultural purposes. Tilling, sowing, planting and other similar agricultural work activities are all forbidden. During this year, the land is to remain “fallow” – meaning that the land is to have a complete rest. It is forbidden for the owner of a field to lock his field to deprive access to it and any produce that may be in it to others. The ownership reverts during this year back to the Creator…

    It addition, any fruits or vegetables that do grow in private fields become available to all, rich or poor alike. The land in effect reverts its ownership to G-d and He lets all eat from it, especially the poor, the orphans and the converts equally with the wealthy and the landowner himself, the birds and the beasts of the fields.

    Shemita demonstrates clearly that those who observe His laws and have faith in Him will not suffer. Just the opposite – they will gain stability in life and security by knowing clearly that He is The Provider, not the land and that He is the cause of their wealth, not their hard work. Through Shmita, we learn to be secure in the knowledge of G-d’s infinite care which will bring us into true happiness.’

    Note the part about finances. (Noel’s commentary) All debt was cancelled, and ancestral land came back to its original owners. Because the Jews never actually followed this plan, God sent them into exile for 70 years, one for each year the land did not lie fallow and the law wasn’t kept (among other big reasons).

    This has some prophetic significance. Not only is it an opportunity to trust the Lord and exercise humility as never before, but it also means that God did not intend people to amass wealth via loans and the acquisition of land indefinitely. Every 50 years the economy ‘reset’. Some Messianic Jews, notably Rabbi Cahn, are saying that God has a way of resetting the economy of the world, as well, and that He seems to do this according to the original plan given, in 7 and 50 year cycles.

    Think about it! If you had to sell your land in Israel, allotted by God, through hardship, in 50 years it returned to your family. No usury (harsh interest rates) was allowed. No derivatives, no manipulating of the market, no debtors prisons. Naturally, people loaned money and bought property carefully, with the prospect of the 50 year limit in mind.

    This is a passage of Scripture with lots of prophetic significance. I’ve been away for a while, so I don’t know if this is any longer appropriate, but since this is the ‘schmitah’ year, what is appropriate for a Christian to do in this Jubilee Year? How should we view what God may be doing in the world economy, which has become insanely corrupt?

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    1. Noel this a wonderful reflection. So interesting how God set limits on growth, whereas in our economy people expect unlimited growth. Well in nature, the only unlimited growth is in cancer cells! How’s that for a metaphor for our age! There is certainly a course correction coming. But your two final questions are important. It is easy to see how the world is going wrong, but what about us, which is the only part of the problem we can really change? Something that really struck me was the part about buying cautiously. That is a true lesson for our time, and something simple we can try to be more aware of as we go about our daily business. Thanks for this reflection Noel!

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  6. Hi Peli and Jill,
    I am laughing too, because my husband wants me to keep coloring my hair, even though it turned gray 15 years ago. So last night I asked him (after I had bought a big bag of corn to add to the bag of rice) Do you want me to buy some hair color also to use during the Storm? Fortunately, he smiled and said, I don’t think you’ll need to be worrying about that…but you could get it colored now! 🙂
    Thanks, Peli, for this beautiful word from the Lord. I have been jealous and envious of others all my life, but very silently. I am finally beginning to say, whatever you want, Lord, but it is very difficult. I think I will say the Litany of Humility. And maybe when there is no hair color left I will actually be happy!

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  7. Nell–you are right about a warning label because when we ask Our Lord for this virtue He starts supplying “exercises” to gain strength in it right away and they are soooo difficult. So hard to give way, to give in, to give up. It makes me careful about that wonderful Litany. I should start praying it again though. MOther Teresa said we learn humility by suffering humiliations. 🙂 Not much fun but well worth the experience.

    Pinecone Jill I know what you mean. I look around sometimes and think what would I do without all these comforts (and we lead a considerably less comfortable life than many) but then I just decide that God will provide the strength and I’ll go forward one foot at a time in HIs grace. I decide not to fret about it. When it goes, it will go.

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  8. Thank you Noel for your post on this ‘schmitah’ year. Thank you Peli for keeping us encouraged with your beautiful updates.

    PineconeJill and narnialion54; the hair scenario made me laugh out loud. I imagined PineconeJill hanging on to Our Lords hands with all her might for her life depended on Our Lord; and when she remembered the storm had ruined her hairdo; begging Our Lord to save her hair. LOL

    I am convinced Our Lord has a little moment of humour when He sees us sharing these childish concerns, in the middle of all the chaos.

    Merciful Jesus, I trust in Thee.

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  9. HI All:

    I have never commented but have been actively reading this blog and Charlie Johnston’s and Mark Mallett’s blog for a while now. The “hair” comment prompted me to respond. Part of my thoughts on prepping have been stockpiling hair color!!! HAHA I guess I have to added vanity to my list of sins to work on.

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  10. Hi Kathy-yes, a crown would help or a really big halo : )

    Regarding shemitah, an interesting thought came to me about the Jubilee year. The restoration of an inheritance would go to the descendants, not to the person who sold it (50 years is pretty much a lifetime for someone who sold off property–at youngest they’d be in their 70’s at restoration). For some reason I feel like that’s important but I cant quite put my finger on it. Anybody?

    I agree about the litany, it’s a doozy! When I first read it I thought “I cant pray this, I would be lying because dont want about half of these things!” Then I realized I wasn’t saying I was going to do them, I was praying for the desire for and deliverance from them. It would be nice not to be disappointed or worried about not being loved/chosen/appreciated/first/best etc. With supernatural help, I might actually get there. Then I’d have more time to work on my hair–I mean Vanity.

    And Peli, on Charlie’s blog you wrote a post about greed and I desperately wanted to reply “agreed” but I’m doing it here instead so Charlie doesn’t ban me for being a silly twit. (I am a silly twit but I dont want to get banned for it).
    Prayers for God’s peace and joy to you all,
    pcj

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  11. Recently I happened to read something from St Thomas that helps to understand humility better. There is another virtue called magnanimity, and it has to do with acknowledging one’s own greatness in a true and proper way. We acknowledge our gifts come from God (magnanimity), and we acknowledge that our limitations come from ourselves (humility).

    This intrigued me because it could seem like magnanimity is opposed to humility, but St Thomas explains that it isn’t. Magnanimity helps us to do great things for God. I think this virtue will be sorely needed in the coming storm. It also has to do with receiving recognition for those things, and St Thomas says this is a good thing. He explains more below, followed by a link to a good article on this by Dr Edward Sri.

    “Magnanimity makes a man deem himself worthy of great things in consideration of the gifts he holds from God: thus if his soul is endowed with great virtue, magnanimity makes him tend to perfect works of virtue; and the same is to be said of the use of any other good, such as science or external fortune. On the other hand, humility makes a man think little of himself in consideration of his own deficiency.” (Summa, II-II, q. 129, a.3, ad 4.)

    http://www.catholiceducation.org/en/education/virtue-education/called-to-greatness-the-virtue-of-magnanimity.html

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  12. That helps us understand how St Paul could say something like this, which could sound like boasting but in fact is magnanimity:

    “I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God which is with me” (I Cor 15: 10).

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  13. I don’t write in very often but I do read all your messages. I find them very uplifting and encouraging. Thank you, Peli and all who write in as I find your words very inspiring and they help me find the path in my walk with the Lord.
    Thank you Noel for your piece on the ‘schmitah’ year; notably by Rabbi Cahn and some Messianic Jews, saying that God has a way of resetting the economy of the world every 7 years.

    In 1986 we had been living in Scotland, where my husband worked in the oil patch. That year we returned to Canada because of the crash in the price of oil and the recession that happened. Seven years later 1993 my husband was unemployed for 9 months.
    the year 2000; I don’t remember any outstanding event.
    2008 another recession and here we are in 2015..?

    Somehow by the grace of God we came through it all. Having Jesus and Mary to turn to has been the best comfort. The sense of peace that I feel when I pray and the hope that springs eternal has always sustained me but I too feel the need to trust more deeply and not get hung up in my ‘human solutions’.
    Jesus I trust in you.

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    1. Wow! What great comments! Thanks Marie for that humorous, but largely accurate prayer. Humor is a gift we need to cherish in the days ahead. The only part I did not agree with is the part about not wanting to be a saint. A saint that is hard to live with only THINKS they are a saint—they are more likely a saint-maker! It’s good to remember that there are ONLY saints in heaven. If we want to get there, we had better be working towards it now! 🙂

      Sr. Lorraine, I have written to ask for permission to post that article verbatim on my humility page. It is very edifying and clarifies so well the true nature of humility.

      Jill, Charlie only bans those who are incorrigible. Silliness doesn’t register. Thanks again for the laugh about your hair. In the days ahead if we need a moment of comic relief we can all wonder how your hair’s holding up. 🙂

      Last but not least—welcome Connie! Vanity is a tough one! Several years ago I decided to stop wearing makeup altogether. The mascara was the last to go. It was really hard. But now, I love the freedom. And the focus becomes less on self, as long as we are not pining away for it the whole time! When we give something up we need to rejoice at what the Lord is doing with our little offering. 🙂

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  14. Thanks to everyone who responded to my hair post. It was partly comic relief, but, I actually do have terrible hair. I call it “muppet” hair; thin, frazzled and going everywhere. I know Jesus sees me and not my hair, but I do still worry about it and I can absolutely see myself, in the midst of a terrible storm, trying to move it around and fix it before He got a good look at me.
    Fortunately I dont have to address this weakness of mine till next year…
    Thank you Sr. Lorriane for introducing me to St Thomas and “magnanimity”. I never paid much attention to the word, I thought it meant something like “philanthropic largess”, but it’s actually a “greatness of spirit”. Something to aspire to (plus its fun to say : )
    Have a blessed weekend everyone, you are all in my prayers,
    pcj

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  15. Glad you enjoyed the humour in that little prayer ☺ If others want to find it, it’s on the ‘Humility’ page. I’m happy you commented on that part about not wanting to be a Saint. I had actually deliberated over whether I should delete that line. Perhaps you could go back and alter it?

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  16. I love the hair comments–I can identify so well!

    I had asked you to pray for Doris about 2 months ago. She was a friend that was disabled and we used to enjoy coffee and a delicious cake together periodically.

    My life became very “full” and we parted from each other’s lives for a few years. I thought of her once in a while and she me, but I always thought of my time with her as a special event, and I was so invovled with “life”. I didn’t know that she missed me, as we were connected through business that had ended and I really didn’t know her thoughts.

    In any event, a year ago Christmas she wrote me a Christmas Card and said that it would be nice if I visited her once again. I planned on doing just that, as life had calmed down a tiny bit. But then my husband nearly died 3 times within the next 5 months from all sorts of problems–thank you for all of your prayers through that very difficult time period…

    Life became just so full again… Before I knew it, it was almost Thanksgiving. I decided right then and there that I would visit her before the holidays took off–I was entertaining 25 for Thanksgiving!

    When I called, her husband let me know that she was in the hospital, but that she would love to see me. Little did I know that I would see her eat the last thing she would ever eat and have one of the last discussions she would ever have on this earth! I found out that she was not lucid for months except for this very brief time. When I went the next time, she could not communicate except for eyes and head movement; and she could feel my touch. At that time, I asked that she promise me that she would say, “Yes to Jesus”. She turned away her eyes and head. She was in this incredibly disabled condition and saying “No” to Jesus! As I left, she longed after me, but I was told by the nurses that they needed to attend to her. I’m thinking that she had rethought the promise that I asked her to make and wanted me to know.

    The next time I saw her was within hours of her passing out of this life. I drew 3 little crosses on her hand with my finger and left her in the presence of her believing family… I know that your prayers helped to move this soul towards heaven and I want to thank you for that! She needed pushing:’) Blessings to all here.

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  17. Pine Cone Jill,

    my understanding is that since everyone knew that ancestral property reset every fifty years, a ‘sale’ would be priced depending on how many years were left in the cycle. Let’s say it was 40 years into the 50 year cycle. The price would be adjusted accordingly, because the buyer would only really be renting the land for 10 years, but the seller could get it back to start over. Slaves were freed, also.

    Remember, this was an agrarian society. The only group that didn’t have land assigned to run animals and feed themselves from was the Levites, and this was because ‘their portion was the Lord’. They were supposed to be supported by the tithes and offerings brought into the Temple (which were meat, grain and produce).

    In times of spiritual declension in Israel, the Levites had to return to farmland in order to live but originally they only had ‘home farms’.

    In our country, I think probably only the Amish have this attitude toward land, and it is passed down to the youngest son, who then has the responsibility of taking care of his parents in the ‘dawdi haus’, a small dwelling for the ‘retirees’. If you look at this model you see that not only don’t people have to completely refit a house in every generation, they wouldn’t need old folks’ homes and they would have the wisdom of the old farmer actually living with them on the land when they took over.

    As a farmer myself, I can really see the wisdom in keeping your land in the family. It takes a long time to tame a piece of land, dig wells, amend the soil, get farming gear, develop a strong and healthy flock. If you inherit a good farm, you get a big head start. You also have deep roots in the community, a thing that is in too short supply these days.

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  18. Just have to add this practical note about hair color. I wanted to stop coloring my hair, but couldn’t think of how to do it without dealing with ugly roots. Finally, my hairdresser had the answer. She cut my hair short and frosted it. Even though the frost color didn’t match my gray, it served as an optical illusion.

    Now I’ve embraced my inner grandma and feel so free!

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  19. Peli’s prayer for Doris made me cry…so I join my prayers as well. I am also asking that St. Padre Pio be with her in her last earthly moments.

    [Isn’t it wonderful how God is not restrained by linear time as we know it?]

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  20. Hi Kathy,
    Isn’t it a relief to work with what’s happening to your body instead of trying to make it stay the same? I suppose that is also a part of humility, accepting and being thankful for our bodies even though God gave us silly hair (oops, thats just me).
    Hi Noel,
    I guess I was thinking that whether we lose our land or liberty deliberately by selling it, or due to circumstances outside our control, it’s not meant to be permanent. All will eventually be restored and our children will not inherit our bad luck or mistakes.
    I dont know, I suppose I’ll just have to see what happens!
    Hi Mary Therese,
    I will pray for Doris, that she did say “yes”. Apparently because God is outside of time we can pray for things that have already happened and still have an effect.
    God bless everyone!
    pcj

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  21. Peli, to add to the good discussion here on humility, here’s a wonderful audio reflection by Father Robert Young on how little ones must be in the Divine Will, and what they must do in it:

    [audio src="http://www.cin.org/divinewilltallahassee/RM091314-Vol-16-19.mp3" /]

    Week #19 presented on September 13, 2014 on Luisa Piccarreta’s February 8th and 10th writings.

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  22. Thank you for all of the prayers for Doris. I am now confident that Padre Pio was there at her deathbed with me… I know she is smiling upon us all and keeping a spot at her table to give us tea and a wonderful treat when we see her in heaven!

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