Spiritual Tips on How to Foster Humility and be Less Prideful
Pride in one way or another is often at the root of all other sins.
One of the most common sins that all of us commit is the sin of pride. In a certain way it is the root of all other sins as it places our own desires and will above God.
Venerable Louis of Granada, a Dominican priest of the 16th century, gave his advice in a book rightly called The Sinner’s Guide. In it, he gives a step-by-step plan for sinners who want to start practicing virtue and be released from their slavery to sin.
Here are a few spiritual tips he gave regarding the common sin of pride.
St. Augustine says, “Humility makes men angels, and pride makes angels devils.” And St. Bernard tells us, “Pride precipitates man from the highest elevation to the lowest abyss, but humility raises him from the lowest abyss to the highest elevation. Through pride the angels fell from Heaven to Hell, and through humility man is raised from earth to Heaven.”
Reflect on that astonishing example of humility given us by the Son of God, who for love of us took upon Himself a nature so infinitely beneath His own, and “became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” (Phil. 2:8). Let the example of your God teach you, O man, to be obedient. Learn, O dust, to humble yourself. Learn, O clay, to appreciate your baseness. Learn from your God, O Christian, to be “meek and humble of heart.” (Matt. 11:29).
Look upon yourself and you will find sufficient motives for humility. Consider what you were before your birth, what you are since your birth, and what you will be after death.
If you are proud of your riches and worldly position, remember that a few years more and death will make us all equal. We are all equal at birth with regard to our natural condition; and as to the necessity of dying, we shall all be equal at death, with this important exception: that those who possessed most during life will have most to account for in the day of reckoning.
“Examine,” says St. Chrysostom, “the graves of the rich and powerful of this world, and find, if you can, some trace of the luxury in which they lived, of the pleasures they so eagerly sought and so abundantly enjoyed. What remains of their magnificent retinues and costly adornments? What remains of those ingenious devices destined to gratify their senses and banish the weariness of life? What has become of that brilliant society by which they were surrounded? Where are the numerous attendants who awaited their commands? Nothing remains of their sumptuous banquets. The sounds of laughter and mirth are no longer heard; a somber silence reigns in these homes of the dead. But draw nearer and see what remains of their earthly tenements, their bodies which they loved too much. Naught but dust and ashes, worms and corruption.”
Another consideration which will help you acquire humility is the thought of the little you have done purely for God. How many vices assume the mask of virtue! How frequently vainglory spoils our best works! How many times actions which shine with dazzling splendor before men have no beauty before God! The judgments of God are different from those of men. A humble sinner is less displeasing in His sight than a proud just man, if one who is proud can be called just.
A PRAYER FOR HUMILITY
O God, who resists the proud,
and gives grace to the humble:
grant us the virtue of true humility,
where of Your Only-begotten son
showed in Himself a pattern for Your faithful;
that we may never by our pride
provoke Your anger, but rather
by our meekness
receive the riches of Your grace.