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Humbling Ourselves


Anyone who thinks of what he is, what he has been, and what he can do of himself will find it difficult to be proud.

asaintCavallini-frescoTo shatter pride it is enough to remember that the first sign of real virtue is to consider self as nothing at all.  We have only to look at Jesus Christ who emptying himself gave all glory to his Father.

If people praise me, it is a mistake, an injustice done to God.  People do not think so highly of us as we imagine: they know our faults, even those we do not see ourselves.  If God uses me for great things, he should be praised and thanked for making use of such a poor instrument, but I myself am not on that account any better…. We should imitate our Lady: she acknowledged that God had done great things for her and that all generations would call her blessed, but instead of attributing anything to herself she says: My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord (Lk 1:46).

It seems to me that a man who sees himself praised for some virtue or good action should be as ashamed as an honorable man would be to be taken for someone else and praised for things he had not done.

Really humble people are never scandalized: they know their own weakness too well; they know that they themselves are so close to the edge of the precipice and they are so afraid of falling over that they are not at all astonished to see others do so…. We have no reason to despise anyone.  A humble man sees only his own faults.  It is a sign of little virtue to notice the imperfections of others.  A person may be imperfect today who in a little while, recognizing this, may rise to great sanctity.

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colombiere Saint Claude de la Colombiere, S.J. "Humbling Ourselves." excerpt from The Spiritual Direction of Saint Claude de la Colombière (San Francisco, CA: Ignatius Press, 1998).

This excerpt appeared in Magnificat.

The Author

colombiere1colombiere Saint Claude de la Colombiere. S.J. (1641-1682) promoted the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and was the confessor of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque. Claude de la Colombiere was born of French noble parents in 1641. In 1674, after 15 years of Jesuit life, Colombiere took a personal vow to observe the Rule and Constitutions of the Society of Jesus. He is the author of Claude La Colombiere Sermons: Volume I: Christian Conduct, The Trustful Surrender to Divine Providence, The Faithful Servant: Spiritual Retreats And Letters Of Blessed Claude La Colombiere, and Spiritual Direction of St Claude de La Columbiere

Copyright © 1998 Ignatius Press

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