Belfast Telegraph

Thought for the weekend: Humility is basis of true virtue

By Fr Patrick McCafferty

"Learn from me for I am gentle and humble in Heart", says Jesus to those who respond to His invitation and come to Him (Matthew 13:28-30).

Humility, therefore, is a foundational Christian virtue without which one cannot be saved (Luke 18:9-14. James 4:6). It is vital to Christian faith.

The word 'humble' comes to us from 'humus', relating to 'earth' or 'soil'.

The virtue or strength in being humble draws us back to our original state: we are formed out of the dust of the earth (Genesis 2:7); from virtual nothingness, we are created into something that is wondrous.

The Psalmist bears witness to this truth: "I thank you, O Lord, for the wonder of my being. A marvel am I and all your works are marvels" (Ps 139:14 ).

In becoming humble, we allow God to work – like the potter fashioning the crude clay (Isaiah 64:8). God gives us rest, rescuing us from vain and exhausting delusions.

He creates us as we are meant to be.

We reach our full potential and achieve our true purpose thanks to God.

This is the work of His grace, of His Spirit who makes a home in us.

In the soil of humility God plants the seeds of our resurrection to fullness of life – our full stature in Christ (Ephesians 4:13).

As water falls on the soil and makes it fruitful, so does God's Spirit draw forth from us the vital signs of life lived in communion with God: love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).

The presence of these gifts are evidence of grace at work and we must be ever engaged in their cultivation.

God Himself is humble and gentle. In Christ, He becomes one with us, finding us 'on the ground', to lift us up to the heights.

See how your King comes to you – victorious and triumphant – yes. But humble also (Zechariah 9:9-10).

Let us grow in humility, for the fully trained disciple will be like his/her teacher (Luke 6:40).

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