Sunday, September 2, 2007

Humility: St. Francis De Sales and Mules

I had a nice long post written out on humility when I ran across a saint's writing that summed up everything I wanted to say, only in a whole lot better way.

If you haven't read the Introduction to the Devout Life by St. Francis De Sales, I recommend you do - one of my favorites. Here is the paragraph I really liked:

"Certainly nothing can so effectively humble us before God's mercy as the multitude of his benefits and nothing can so deeply humble us before his justice as our countless offenses against him. Let us consider what he has done for us and what we have done against him, and as we reflect on our sins one by one let us also consider the graces one by one. There is no need to fear that knowledge of his gifts will make us proud if only we remember this truth, that none of the good in us comes from ourselves. Do mules stop being dull, disgusting beasts simply because they are laden with a prince's precious, perfumed goods?"

Humility: Knowing first that you are a dull, disgusting beast laden with a prince's precious perfumed goods, and second that God has a really huge soft spot for dull, disgusting beasts.


Laura The Crazy Mama said...

Oh, very good one! I always freak out about the humility thing. I go over and over in my mind how on earth a person could EVER achieve humility. It's an endless circle!
1. I strive for humility.
2. I do a lot of humble things.
3. I realize, "hey! I'm finally humble!"
4. Back to number 1.

I guess what St. Francis is kind of saying is that the true humility won't be achieved here on earth at all! Maybe he's saying that we might realize it only when we get to Heaven and are humbled by all of God's wonder and creation that we missed (but REALLY tried to see!) on earth?

Or, maybe he's saying that we have to get the "beat down" now and again to recognize who's really in charge and KNOW, without a doubt, that we can do NOTHING without Christ!

I was humbled by your post.
(Dang, now that I realize that, I'm back to square 1. again-sheesh, thanks!)

Joshua 24:15 said...

Good post, and timely. I had a conversation just today about humility- and of course its opposite, pride. Humility was the topic of Sunday's Gospel and Father's homily, and of a related reading in a book of meditations I'm working through.

There is great advice in both the sources above, that got me to thinking: am I saying "yes" to getting involved, for the right motives-- to help where I'm needed and where my talents are, versus just because it feels good or that it's nice to get the nod from Father.

So, all of the parish's needs to be filled, with the danger of developing a prideful attitude if you're doing the filling. Man, that Devil is a clever chap...!

As you say, Crazy Mama, back to square 1... :)

aragorn said...

Thoughts from DeSales'"The Way" help me out a lot :".... the day you see yourself as you actually are, yo will think it natural to be despised by are not really humble when you humble yourself, but you are humbled by others and you bear it for Christ."

Food for thought.