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From the Catechism of the Catholic Church on Humility
as the foundation of prayer, 2559, 2631
as necessary for prayer, 2713
"Poverty of spirit" as, 2546

Below is an excerpt from the writings of Saint Josemaria which can help us identify a lack of humility in ourselves.

St. Josemaria, pray for us!
Allow me to remind you that among other evident signs of a lack of humility are:
  1. Thinking that what you do or say is better than what others do or say
  2. Always wanting to get your own way
  3. Arguing when you are not right or — when you are — insisting stubbornly or with bad manners
  4. Giving your opinion without being asked for it, when charity does not demand you to do so
  5. Despising the point of view of others
  6. Not being aware that all the gifts and qualities you have are on loan
  7. Not acknowledging that you are unworthy of all honour or esteem, even the ground you are treading on or the things you own
  8. Mentioning yourself as an example in conversation
  9. Speaking badly about yourself, so that they may form a good opinion of you, or contradict you
  10. Making excuses when rebuked
  11. Hiding some humiliating faults from your director, so that he may not lose the good opinion he has of you
  12. Hearing praise with satisfaction, or being glad that others have spoken well of you
  13. Being hurt that others are held in greater esteem than you
  14. Refusing to carry out menial tasks
  15. Seeking or wanting to be singled out
  16. Letting drop words of self-praise in conversation, or words that might show your honesty, your wit or skill, your professional prestige…
  17. Being ashamed of not having certain possessions…

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  1. Summa Theologicae, Secunda Secundae Question 161 []

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 will 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.” Blessed Teresa of Calcutta ~Mother Teresa~

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 even when provoked by someone.
12. Do not seek to be admired and loved.
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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6 Ways to Cultivate the Virtue of Humility

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Humility is the foundation of all the other virtues hence, in the soul in which this virtue does not exist, there cannot be any other virtue except in mere appearance. —St. Augustine

The saints make it perfectly clear that humility is the foundation of all spiritual growth. If we are not humble, we are not holy. It is that simple.
But while it’s simple enough to know that we should be humble, it’s not always so easy in practice. Accordingly, I want to discuss six methods to cultivate the virtue of humility.

1. Pray for it

It is safe to say that no virtue is ever formed in our souls except by frequent prayer. If you truly desire to be humble, pray every day for this grace, asking God to help you overcome your self-love.
“We should daily ask God with our whole hearts for humility,” teaches St. John Vianney, “for the grace to know that we are nothing of ourselves, and that our corporal as well as our spiritual welfare proceeds from him alone.”
To this end, I highly recommend the beautiful prayer known as the Litany of Humility.

2. Accept humiliations

Perhaps the most painful, but also the most effective, way to learn humility is by accepting humiliating and embarrassing circumstances. Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalene explains:
  • Many souls would like to be humble, but few desire humiliation; many ask God to make them humble and fervently pray for this, but very few want to be humiliated. Yet it is impossible to gain humility without humiliations; for just as studying is the way to acquire knowledge, so it is by the way of humiliation that we attain to humility.
  • As long as we only desire this virtue of humility, but are not willing to accept the means thereto, not even are we on the true road to acquiring it. Even if in certain situations we succeed in acting humbly, this may well be the result of a superficial and apparent humility rather than of a humility that is real and profound. Humility is truth; therefore, let us tell ourselves that since we possess nothing of ourselves but sin, it is but just that we receive only humiliation and scorn.

3. Obey legitimate superiors

One of the clearest manifestations of pride is disobedience (ironically, disobedience and rebellion are hailed as virtues in modern Western society). Satan fell through his proud, Non serviam, “I will not serve.”
On the other hand, humility is always manifested by obedience to legitimate authority, whether it be your boss or the government. As St. Benedict says, “The first degree of humility is prompt obedience.”

4. Distrust yourself

The saints tell us that every sin we commit is due to our pride and self-reliance. If we completely distrusted ourselves and relied only upon God, they say, we would never sin.
Dom Lorenzo Scpuoli went so far as to say that, “Distrust of self is so absolutely requisite in the spiritual combat that without this virtue we cannot expect to defeat our weakest passions, much less gain a complete victory.”

5. Acknowledge your nothingness

Another highly effective way of cultivating humility is to meditate on the grandeur and greatness of God, while simultaneously acknowledging your own nothingness in relation to him. St. John Vianney puts it this way:
  • Who can contemplate the immensity of a God without humbling himself into the dust at the thought that God created heaven out of nothing, and that with one word he could turn heaven and earth into nothing again? A God who is so great, and whose power is boundless; a God filled with every perfection; a God with his never-ending eternity, his great justice, his providence, who rules everything so wisely, and looks after everything with such care, and we a mere nothing!

6. Think better of others than of yourself

When we are proud, we inevitably think we are better than others. We pray like the Pharisee, “Lord, I thank you that I am not like other men.” This self-righteousness is incredibly harmful to our souls, and it is detestable to God. Scripture and the saints both affirm that the only safe path is considering everyone as better than ourselves. “Do nothing from selfishness or conceit, but in humility count others better than yourselves,” says St. Paul (Phil. 2:3).
Thomas à Kempis summarizes this teaching in Chapter 7 of his classic, The Imitation of Christ.
  • Do not think yourself better than others lest, perhaps, you be accounted worse before God Who knows what is in man. Do not take pride in your good deeds, for God’s judgments differ from those of men and what pleases them often displeases Him. If there is good in you, see more good in others, so that you may remain humble. It does no harm to esteem yourself less than anyone else, but it is very harmful to think yourself better than even one. The humble live in continuous peace, while in the hearts of the proud are envy and frequent anger.

Conclusion

There is no doubt about it: humility is the foundation of the entire spiritual life. Without this virtue, we will never advance in holiness. Yet, humility is not simply an abstraction to be admired—it is a virtue to be learned and practiced through the often painful circumstances of daily life. Let us always strive to be humble, then, in imitation of Jesus Christ, who “emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.”