Daily Thought For June 24, 2020

St. Francis de Sales On Humility

For Francis, the virtue of humility combines recognition of the truth of who we are with the truth of God's love for us. 


Humility is true knowledge and voluntary acknowledgment of our abjection. The chief point of such humility consists not only in willingly admitting our abject state but in loving it and delighting in it. (Introduction to the Devout Life, p. 139) 

This humility helps us to combat the dangers we typically encounter along the journey toward our own spiritual perfection. 


Why is it that when we happen to commit some imperfection or sin, we are so surprised, upset, and impatient? Without doubt, it is because we thought we were something special, resolute, and steady, and therefore, when we discover that in reality we are nothing of the kind and have fallen flat on our face, we are disappointed, and consequently we are vexed, offended, and upset. If we really knew ourselves well, instead of being astonished at finding ourselves on the ground, we would marvel that we ever manage to remain standing up. That's the other source of our disquiet: we want nothing but consolation and are taken aback when we see and experience our misery, our nothingness, and our weakness. (Letters of Spiritual Direction, p. 119) 

At the same time, humility makes it possible for us to recognize and accept our companions on this journey. 


Humility makes it possible for us to be untroubled about our own faults by reminding us of those of others; for why should we be more perfect than anyone else? In the same way, why should the shortcomings of others bother us when we recall our own? Why should we find it strange that others have faults when we ourselves have plenty? Humility makes our hearts gentle toward the perfect and the imperfect: toward the perfect, out of respect; toward the imperfect, out of compassion. Humility helpsus to receive afflictions serenely, knowing that we deserve them, and to receive blessings with reverence, knowing that they are undeserved. (Letters of Spiritual Direction, p. 121) 


Thus, how we see ourselves in relation to how God sees us is for Francis the critical disposition that opens the door for God's entry into the human soul. 

from Praying with Francis de Sales by Thomas F. Dailey pp.78-79 by WORD AMONG US PRESS. (For the entire reflection click here.)

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