Without humility, our virtues are ‘toxic’. Patience can hide grumbling (complaining) or hypocrisy (The practice of professing beliefs, feelings, or virtues that one does not hold or possess; pretending). Simplicity can be diverted into impudence (offensively bold behavior) and deviousness (sneakiness, rambling indirectly). Joy may not emanate from spiritual exaltation but secular (worldly rather than spiritual) satisfaction.
A person who justifies (to prove to be right) himself when people criticize him is constantly closing the door to humility. You should not try to justify yourself, no matter what they tell you. Make a sincere prostration (to lie flat with the face down) of acknowledgment and that will be enough.
The humble person has all the spiritual fragrances: simplicity, meekness (gentleness), unconditional love, goodness, forbearance (patience), sacrifice, and obedience (complying with the commands, of one in authority). He is also devout (devoted to a religion) and silent.
Virgin Mary had great humility. Although She carried God incarnate in Her womb, She did not speak out at all until Christ Himself spoke. Because of Her humility, She holds the 2nd place after the Holy Trinity.
If you want to be free of your passions, your medicine is to be simple (humble). When you are given an opportunity for humility, accept it. This is how humility is acquired. When one accepts external humiliations, he is quickly freed from his ‘old self’ (the selfish person within).
We acquire humility when God allows some indiscreet person to behave badly toward us, in order to test us, but we must accept it. The one who humiliates us is our great benefactor (one who does good). In all respects belittle yourself before all. When you ….become small, that’s when you cultivate humility and love. Humble behavior never wounds others, because the humble person always has love in his heart.
When you show respect and love for another virtuous person, this shows that you have humility and you truly love virtue. A person who is simple and innocent is humble and receives the Grace of God. True humility brings hope, not hopelessness. Out of the contrition (remorse for wrongdoing; repentance) of humblemindedness, the spiritual person gradually matures.
Whatever you do, you must do with humility, otherwise, you place the devil in your good deeds (performance of moral or religious acts). For example, if one says proudly, “I will go and do some good deed,” he is putting the devil into the mix, and he might then encounter a great number of obstacles and finally not be able to go at all. On the contrary, if he goes quietly to do some good deed, then the devil does not enter into the situation.
If you are being censured (condemned) and do not understand why, you have no humility. Instead, you try to justify yourself when you are censured for your error. The person who justifies himself when people reprove (express dissaproval) him is constantly closing the door to humility. You should try NOT to justify yourself, no matter what they tell you.
If a person does not come to know himself in order to be humbled naturally, then, for him, humility cannot become a state of being that will secure divine Grace within himself. We must be very careful not to claim the talents given to us by God as our own. We ought to thank God for them, and be concerned that we utilize them to their full extent.
At the same time we should feel sorrow for others who have not received such gifts from God, and pray for them. And when a person is lacking in something, we should say to ourselves, “if that person had the gifts God has given to me, he would now be a saint, whereas I have not fully utilized them and have furthermore, wronged God by claiming as my own what He has given me.”
If one acts simply and humbly, knowing that his gifts and talents belong to God, then God will surely give him even more talents. We should not only thank God for the gifts He has given us, but also for making us as human beings instead of a snake, scorpion, mule, etc. If one does not examine things in this manner – although he may appear to be just to others – he is, in reality, the most unjust person in the world, because he does not wrong other people, but God Himself.
It takes much humility to be a fool for Christ. If you want to love being invisible, read the life of Saint Isidora. Fools for Christ have an overflow from being abundantly filled with God’s love, not an empty space within. Great saints have abundance of humility and absolutely no regard for themselves. This is why God renders them worthy of knowing divine mysteries and of acquiring many gifts. A saint always tries to present himself in a way that is the exact opposite to his virtues (goodness; moral excellence), in order to avoid people’s admiration of him.
The humble and unseen heroes of Christ are the cleverest in the world, because they manage to safeguard their spiritual wealth in the treasury of God. This is why we must feel great joy that we live in obscurity (quality or condition of being unknown), because then we will see the face of God in the other life and even feel His presence by our side in this life.
If you want to be free of your passions, your medicine is to be humble. When one accepts external humiliations he is quickly freed from his old self. There are many people who give out humility for free as long as you want it. They are the ones who humiliate us with their bad behavior.
Humility of course cannot be purchased. When we pray, “Lord, give me humility,” He will allow for some indiscreet person to behave badly toward us or He will remove His Grace from another who will curse us. Normally we should be grateful to the one who humiliates us, for he is our great benefactor (one who does good). The humbled person is endowed with Grace by God, and then he can help the others.
Humble behavior never wounds others, because the humble person always has love in his heart. When a person sees himself as beneath all others, he is on his way to Heaven. Instead what we do we compare ourselves to others and conclude that we are better than they are. When you show respect and love for another virtuous (having or showing virtue, especially moral excellence) person, this shows that you have humility and you truly love virtue. The devil fears humility the most; it makes him fall apart. With humility one is always enlightened and never stumbles on his spiritual journey.
For example, One day, as Elder Avvakum was sitting on a rock praying with his komboskini1, the devil appeared to him ‘as an angel of light’. The devil said to him, “Avvakum, God has sent me to bring you to Paradise, because you have now become an angel; come let us fly away together.” The elder told him, “But you have wings; how am I to fly?” The false angel said, “You also have wings, but you just can’t see them.” Then Elder Avvakum made the sing of the cross and said, “My Panaghia (my virgin Mary), who am I to fly?” Immediately, the false angel became a strange-looking black goat with small, bat-like wings and disappeared. With humility, we can detect and overcome the snares of the devil. In all respects belittle yourself before all!
1 - koboskini (κομποσκινι) - an Orthodox prayer rope