Growing in Humility

Humility is associated with the beatitude, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3). What a great promise to the humble! Christ tells them that the kingdom of heaven is theirs!

The great news about humility is that it combats the sin of pride. Just as pride is the greatest sin, one that we battle in big and small ways on a day-to-day basis, humility is the great virtue that helps destroy our pride. It is the root and foundation of other virtues, since it is in humility that you become detached from your selfish desires so you can become completely attached to God.

What is humility?

Like the beatitude says, humility is “poverty of spirit.” It helps us acknowledge our own defects and have a “lowly” opinion of self, not to be confused with a low opinion of self. With this lowly disposition, we willingly submit ourselves to God and to others for God’s sake. Humility tempers the disorderly desire for personal greatness and leads us to an orderly love of self out of appreciation for our role in life with respect to God and our neighbors.

Living with humility

Humility is such a beautiful virtue. The more we grow in it, the more we are at peace and able to grow closer to God. As Donald DeMarco writes, “Humility is the mother of many virtues, because from it knowledge, realism, honesty, strength, and dedication are born.” 

3 ideas to help you grow in humility

  1. Be quick to recognize others over yourself. In our pride, we often want recognition for things we do—our accomplishments, good deeds, etc. One way to grow in humility is to give recognition to a classmate, coworker, fellow ministry worker, etc. instead of seeking recognition for something for yourself.
  2. Thank God. Remember that the talents and gifts you have are given to you by God. He has helped you achieve your successes and accolades. So make sure to thank Him when you are recognized for some achievement or given praise, instead of accepting all congratulations for yourself.
  3. Be realistic. Practice being honest with yourself about your own strengths and weaknesses. When we grow in self-awareness, we grow in humility. 

What do the experts say?

“A trusting humility brings us back into the light of communion between the Father and his Son Jesus Christ and with one another, so that ‘we receive from him whatever we ask.’” –CCC 2631

“Humility like the darkness, reveals the heavenly lights.” –Henry David Thoreau

“To be taken with love for a soul, God does not look on its greatness, but the greatness of its humility.” –St. John of the Cross

“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.” –Saint Augustine