There are a few questions we could ask ourselves this coming Sunday (and indeed every day), for the First Reading and the Gospel today, among other things, portray the humility of Christ, the latter by Jesus teaching us that “I am gentle and humble in heart.[1] And so the first question is “Do I reflect Christ’s humility in my attitude and actions?” Followed closely by “Do I want to be first in everything?” “Do I wish to be noticed for my charitable deeds and accomplishments?”

We are told in our First Reading today - “See now, your king comes to you; he is victorious, he is triumphant, humble and riding on a donkey…[2] Yes, the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, gives us the example of lowliness. Not that this asks to be seeped in the mire, of hanging our head as though we have no worth…but humble while acknowledging that we are truly a son or daughter of the Father but that we are called to acknowledge that we are the creature and He is the Creator.

St. Augustine tells us that “Humility is the foundation of all the other virtues hence, in the soul in which this virtue does not exist, there cannot be any other virtue except in mere appearance.

So, there we have it. Humility is essential if we are to be holy.

So, another question to ask – “How do I become a humble person?” The first approach is through prayer, through asking for this virtue. Indeed, we cannot pray anyway without humility for “humility is the foundation of prayer.[3]We should daily ask God with our whole hearts for humility,” teaches St. John Vianney, “for the grace to know that we are nothing of ourselves, and that our corporal as well as our spiritual welfare proceeds from him alone.[4]

Secondly, we need to be able to face humiliations. If any of you have ever said the Litany for Humility you may have experienced how quickly humiliating circumstances come your way! I quote it here below. Dare to pray it if you can!

O Jesus! meek and humble of heart, Hear me.
From the desire of being esteemed,
Deliver me, Jesus. (repeat after each line)
From the desire of being loved,
From the desire of being extolled,
From the desire of being honoured,
From the desire of being praised,
From the desire of being preferred to others,
From the desire of being consulted,
From the desire of being approved,
From the fear of being humiliated,
From the fear of being despised,
From the fear of suffering rebukes,
From the fear of being calumniated,
From the fear of being forgotten,
From the fear of being ridiculed,
From the fear of being wronged,
From the fear of being suspected,
That others may be loved more than I,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it. (repeat after each line)
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.[5]

Thirdly, we rely on the grace of God to keep us from the sin of pride. We can do nothing on our own, it only through the transforming grace of the Holy Spirit that we can be as we are called to be.

Let me end with yet another helpful instruction from St. John Mary Vianney – “Humility is like a pair of scales, the lower one side falls, the higher rises the other. Let us humble ourselves like the Blessed Virgin and we shall be exalted.[6]

So, there you have it!

[1] Matt. 11:29

[2] Zech. 9:9-10

[3] Catechism of the Catholic Church #2559




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