BulletinsLetters from Padre

September 1st, 2019 Bulletin & News

By August 29, 2019 No Comments
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Sit Down. Be Humble.

Jesus, not unlike Kendrick Lemar, reminds us of the need to be humble: “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Lk 4:15). Humility is not a word that gets anyone excited. It’s etymology (from the latin humo acclinis) literally means to be low to the ground. Aquinas defines it as “chiefly the subjection of man to God, for whose sake he humbles himself by subjecting himself to others.” To be humble is to submit to the will of God. To know who God is and to know who I am is to be humble. Humility can be painful because it stands in direct contradiction to pride, which is ordinal sin.

I recently read some thoughts of St. Bernard of Clarveaux who provides us with the steps to humility and the steps to pride. This chart is sure to convict us all:

Steps into Pride
1. Curiosity about what is not one’s proper concern
2. Light mindedness: chatter and exclamation about things which do not matter
3. Laughing about nothing; foolish merriment
4. Boasting and talking too much
5. Trying to be different: claiming special rights
6. Thinking oneself holier than others
7. Interfering presumptuously with the affairs of others
8. Self-justification: defending one’s sinful actions
9. Insincere confession
10. Rebelling against superiors
11. Feeling free to sin
12. Habitual sinning

Steps into Humility
12. Containment of one’s interests, which shows itself in a humble bearing and lowered eyes
11. Quiet and restrained speech
10. Reluctance to laugh
9. Keeping silent unless asked to speak
8. Regarding oneself as having no special rights in the community
7. Thinking oneself less holy than the others
6. Thinking oneself unworthy to take initiative
5. Confessing one’s sins
4. Patience in the face of accusation
3. Submission to superiors
2. Desiring no freedom to exercise one’s will
1. Constant watchfulness against sin

Now, we have to put these in proper context. These steps were written for eleventh century Cistercian monks who lived a strict life, and not all of the “steps to pride” are sinful. Please don’t stop reading this and think that it is a sin to laugh, be merry, or talk. But how many times in my life have I laughed at something that I don’t find funny for the sake of the esteem of others? How often do I regard what I have to say as more important than another? When we learn to humble ourselves before others, it is much easier to humble ourselves before God.

-Fr. Casey