Question: What is the virtue of humility?
Answer: In many ways, humility is the foundation of the spiritual life. It’s the virtue by which we know ourselves accurately in relation to God and others. Humility reminds us that we are not the center of the universe. We recognize that we are created beings, totally dependent on God. We are nothing apart from Him. The more we recognize this, the more we’re able to open ourselves to God’s grace working in our lives. The closer we grow to God, the more we can love others. Humility also recognizes that we’re “on par,” so to speak, with others. Made in the image and likeness of God, we are all equal in dignity.
Growth in humility is not an easy process. It can mean accepting the humiliations and embarrassing mistakes of our life, learning from them graciously, rather than ignoring them or blaming others. It also means responding to those in authority with respect. We can practice humility by not bulldozing ahead or assuming our opinion or way of doing things is always right. Consider asking yourself: “I wonder what so-and-so would think of this?” It’s also important to remember that humility isn’t only the opposite of pride. It’s also the opposite of excessive self-debasement. We’ve all experienced the negative self-talk that ignores God’s gifts in our lives and in our own person. True humility thanks God for His many gifts … and recognizes that He was the One to give them.