Humility is…”The moral virtue that keeps a person from reaching beyond himself. It is the virtue that restrains the unruly desire for personal greatness and leads people to an orderly love of themselves based on a true appreciation of their position with respect to God and their neighbors.” Humility is a quality of all the saints. St. Gemma Galgani, a Passionist saint, wrote about Jesus and humiliations in her diary on July 20, 1900.
By four o’clock today I was tired of suffering. I presently found myself with Jesus, Who came beside me and was not sad as on the previous night; He caressed me and lifted the crown from my head. I then felt less pain; but when He put it upon His own head I felt no pain at all. My strength returned and I felt even better than before I began to suffer.
We talked of many things and during our conversation I asked Him not to make me confess to Father Vallini, because I did not like to. Jesus seemed disappointed, and told me that I should go at once. I promised I would. He showed His heart to me and said “I love you greatly because you are like me.” “In what way, Jesus?” I asked, “because I seem so unlike you.” “In accepting humiliations,” He replied. Then there returned to me a vision of my past life. I saw my pride. It was always one of my greatest defects. When I was little, wherever I went I always heard it said that I was very proud. But what means Jesus has used to humiliate me, especially during this past year. At last I understand what God was doing with me. May Jesus be always thanked. Then God added that with time He would make a saint of me. Of this last I will say no more for that is impossible to happen to me. He told me of something to say to the confessor and blessed me. I knew Jesus would be away from me for some days. But how good He is! Scarcely had He gone when my Angel Guardian appeared, who with his continual charity, vigilance, and patience assists me. Oh Jesus, I have promised always to obey you. I affirm it anew.
In politics, there is a lot of talk about government dependency, and there are many who say that the most important thing is to end this dependency on government and for people to learn “self-sufficiency.” Certainly, dependence on government does get in the way of our dependence on God. There is something to be said for self-sufficiency, but in the end, money is not what matters. Unless we have humility, which is dependence on God, we cannot really have peace. We can never be satisfied by the things of the world. If government dependency were ended, people would turn to other things to satisfy their appetites. Jesus not only satisfies all that we truly need, but He fully completes us. Total dependence on God is where the truest happiness is found. Lack of dependence on God means one’s heart is chained to the world, or even, perhaps, to sin.
Humility is the quality not only of being able to suffer humiliations, but being willing to welcome them for Jesus, to become more like Him, as He said to St. Gemma, and to help convert sinners. The opposite of humility, of course, is pride. Pride keeps us from being willing to suffer humiliations.
St. Gemma has helped me to understand a great deal on this. Visit StGemmaGalgani.com for more.