Humility – The Key to Holiness, Joy and Peace

Since the fall of our first parents, no vice has plagued the souls of men more than pride, that vice which worships and “loves self to the point of despising God," instead of worshiping and “loving God to the point of despising self.” (Saint Augustine, De Civitate Dei, XIV, 1) Simply put, pride fails to give credit where credit is due, namely God. Our response to pride must be the radical living of the virtue of humility.

In Donald DeMarco’s book, “The Heart of Virtue," he tells a brilliant story of Karl Rudolph's life and his unbelievable accomplishments despite his seemingly impossible circumstances. He was a man with 195 patents to his name for the then new General Electric Company; such things as man made lighting and improved electric motors to be used in elevators, making skyscrapers a reality. This man of high accomplishments, when once given a beautiful leather chair for work, chose rather to work kneeling on the floor or a stool he had. When he died there was a great presence not only of dignitaries but most notably of children at his funeral. "Let the children come to me; do not prevent them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these." (Mark 10:14) Karl Rudolph was a “successful person” not because of his worldly accomplishments, but because he recognized were he received the ability and strength to accomplish what he did. Again humility finds its true meaning and grounding in Jesus, who stripped Himself of His glory and “... although in the form of God, He did not deem equality with God, something to be grasped at.” (Philippians 2:6) He who took on flesh came into the world through a poor peasant woman named Mary. When His Mother, “a lowly servant,” (Luke 1:48) gave birth to her son, she, “since there was no room where the travelers where staying at the inn,” (Luke 2:7) placed her child in the feeding trough used by the animals. No greater witness do we have to the importance and goodness of humility than in the example of Jesus, who is God Himself. Mother Theresa once said that God's greatest attribute is His humility. Even the ancients recognized the importance of humility when Confucius remarked that, “Humility is the solid foundation of all the virtues.”