11 November 2011


A quick florilegium on humility:

"The seventh degree of humility
is that he consider himself lower and of less account
than anyone else,
and this not only in verbal protestation
but also with the most heartfelt inner conviction,
humbling himself and saying with the Prophet,
'But I am a worm and no man,
the scorn of men and the outcast of the people' (Ps. 21[22]:7)."

— Benedict's Rule, Ch. 7

Discretion is the only child of self-knowledge, and, wedding with charity, has indeed many other descendants, as a tree which has many branches; but that which gives life to the tree, to its branches, and its root, is the ground of humility, in which it is planted, which humility is the foster-mother and nurse of charity, by whose means this tree remains in the perpetual calm of discretion. Because otherwise the tree would not produce the virtue of discretion, or any fruit of life, if it were not planted in the virtue of humility, because humility proceeds from self-knowledge.
— St. Catherine, Dialogue

"Abba John said, 'Who sold Joseph?' A brother replied
saying, 'It was his brethren.' The old man said to him, 'No, it
was his humility which sold him, because he could have said,
"I am their brother" and have objected, but, because he kept
silence, he sold himself by his humility. It is also his humility
which set him up as chief in Egypt."

"When Abba Macarius was returning from the marsh
to his cell one day carrying some palm-leaves, he met the
devil on the road with a scythe.  The latter struck at him as
much as he pleased, but in vain, and he said to him, 'What is
your power, Macarius, that makes me powerless against
you?  All that you do, I do, too; you fast, so do I; you keep
vigil, and I do not sleep at all; in one thing only do you beat
me.' Abba Macarius asked what that was.  He said, 'Your
humility.  Because of that I can do nothing against you.'"
— Apophthegmata Patrum

'But Moses said to the LORD, "Oh, my Lord, I am not eloquent, either heretofore or since thou hast spoken to thy servant; but I am slow of speech and of tongue."'
— Exodus 4:10