Let's start with ourselves, but let's also pray that everyone grows in this virtue a bit.
After a toxic election cycle, many of us shake our heads in consternation. Why has the world gotten to this point? Isn’t anyone kind or cooperative anymore? Honest? Hard working?
Ultimately, what the world needs is a lot more humility, and a lot less pride, which is the root of all vices.
One of the Church’s greats, St. Benedict, proposed Twelve Steps to grow in humility.
His writing on each step is extensive, so here we present you with a summary of each.
He began his list with this preface: Luke 14:11: “Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled, and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.”
Step 1: Fear the Lord
Man must keep the fear of God always before his eyes, and never forget His commandments. The fear of God means reverence for God; what we often forget is that by offending God, we offend ourselves.
Step 2: Not my will, but yours O Lord (from John 6:38)
This means that in order to be humble, we must avoid taking inordinate pleasure in our own wants and desires but always strive to do God’s will before all else.
Step 3: He was obedient even unto death (Philippians 2:8)
Humility requires us to be obedient to authority, which includes our parents, our priest, lawful authority, etc.
Step 4: Embrace suffering patiently and obediently
“For he that will save his life shall lose it: and he that shall lose his life for my sake, shall find it” (Matthew 16:24-25)
Step 5: Confess our sins and faults
This means we should regularly confess our sins to a priest through the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
Step 6: Be content with lowliness
We should accept that we are sinful and frail and when left to our selves we are not much, but to God we are of precious value so much so that he suffered and died for us.
Step 7: Understand our mediocrity
“It is a blessing that you have humbled me so that I can learn Your commandments” (Psalm 119:71, 73)
Step 8: Keep the Rule
This is to remind the Benedictines to keep the Rule of their Order. It reminds us to keep the rules of Holy Mother Church, or even resolutions that we set for ourselves to improve
Step 9: Silence and solitude
We should always avoid speaking ill of others and try to embrace silence and solitude whenever God provides it for us.
Step 10: Keep your peace in times of laughter
This pertains to us laughing and making fun of others, something we should never do.
Step 11: Speak calmly and modestly
We should train our tongue so that the words we speak are foremost pleasing to God and never offensive.
Step 12: Everlasting humility and meekness
We should strive to live our lives, day and night, by bearing whatever problems or adversities we are experiencing, thereby allowing God’s kindness and gentleness to shine through us.
Cardinal Rafael Merry del Val was Secretary of State to Pope St. Pius X. He wrote the famous Litany of Humility.
We might pray that more people embrace the gift of humility, starting of course with ourselves. Our world certainly needs more of it.