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Humility: The foundation of everything

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The proud man counts his newspaper clippings, the humble man his blessings. – Fulton Sheen

This week as we continue our faith journey we will begin a weekly look at the virtues. Humility seems like a natural start to our studies. The virtue of humility is the cornerstone to all virtues. Without humility, we spend so much time focusing on ourselves the world can easily push us by. In the words of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta:

“Humility is the mother of all virtues; purity, charity and obedience. It is in being humble that our love becomes real, devoted and ardent. If you are humble nothing can touch you, neither praise nor disgrace, because you know what you are. If you are blamed you will not be discouraged. If they call you a saint you will not put yourself on a pedestal.”

Attaining Humility

How do we go about attaining this humbleness? Take a look back at the past week. Did you take credit for something someone else did? Did you search out praise for a task you completed? Did you put yourself ahead of others needs? Did you enter into an argument because you were right and someone was wrong (whether you were right or not)? If you said yes…well we need to do some work. Let’s look at some suggestions from Father John Bartunek.

Thank Others: There are always opportunities to thank someone during the day. Find someone each day and thank them for something.

Redirect Praise: One example could be redirecting accolades from you as team leader of a project to the members of your team.

You Don’t Have To Be Right: Even if you are entering into an argument to prove you are right, you are showing dominance over the other person. The humble person knows they are NOT always right abd doesn’t fight over when they are.

It Wasn’t You Who Got You Here: Success is a measurement of the world we live in. The humble person acknowledges the people who helped them get them there. The VERY humble person knows it was God.

Don’t Be First: This one is straight from scripture and we have heard it a hundred times. Those who are first shall be last ad those who are last shall be first. Live by those words.

Appreciate Everything: There is so much in our lives that came about without our doing. Appreciate the place you live, your neighbors, you health, the money you have at your disposal, the nature around you. Appreciate it all.

Listen More Than You Speak: Listening more than you speak can be very powerful and if you use this you can learn many things about others and practice humility in how you respond.

Don’t Judge Others: Jesus once said let you without sin be the first to cast the stone. None of us is better than those around us. We all have our own shortcomings. Don’t judge someone else for theirs. Remember when you are pointing one finger at another there are four more pointing back at you.

Putting it into action

These are all very powerful suggestions to begin working on. If we put just a few  these items into action our humility will gradually grow a little at a time. In closing we will turn to two great people from our own time. First a quote from Venerable Fulton Sheen.

“Our happiest times are those in which we forget ourselves, usually in being kind to someone else. That tiny moment of self-abdication is an act of true humility: the man who loses himself finds himself and finds his happiness.”

Second, a humility list crafted by Blessed Mother Teresa. Since discovering this list I refer to it often. I suggest printing it out and hanging it at your desk or in the kitchen for reference often.

Mother Teresa’s Humility List

  1. Speak as little as possible about yourself.
  2. Keep busy with your own affairs and not those of others.
  3. Avoid curiosity.
  4. Do not interfere in the affairs of others.
  5. Accept small irritations with good humor.
  6. Do not dwell on the faults of others.
  7. Accept censures even if unmerited.
  8. Give in to the will of others.
  9. Accept insults and injuries.
  10. Accept contempt, being forgotten and disregarded.
  11. Be courteous and delicate when provoked by someone.
  12. Do not seek to be admired and love.
  13. Do not protect yourself behind your own dignity.
  14. Give in, in discussions, even when you are right.
  15. Choose always the more difficult task.

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