With Lent quickly approaching, I offer the words of St. Josemaria Escrivá as the perfect course on humility:
"Allow me to remind you that among other evident signs of a lack of humility are:
- thinking that what you do or say is better than what others do or say;
- always wanting to get your own way;
- arguing when you are not right or, when you are, insisting stubbornly or with bad manners;
- giving your opinion without being asked for it, when charity does not demand you to do so;
- despising the point of view of others;
- not being aware that all the gifts and qualities you have are on loan;
- not acknowledging that you are unworthy of all honor or esteem, even the ground you are treading on or the things you own;
- mentioning yourself as an example in conversation;
- speaking badly about yourself, so that they may form a good opinion of you, or contradict you;
- making excuses when rebuked;
- hiding some humiliating faults from your director, so that he may not lose the good opinion he has of you;
- hearing praise with satisfaction, or being glad that others have spoken well of you;
- being hurt that others are held in greater esteem than you;
- refusing to carry out menial tasks;
- seeking or wanting to be singled out;
- letting drop words of self-praise in conversation, or words that might show your honesty, your wit or skill, your professional prestige;
- being ashamed of not having certain possessions..."
This is certainly a painful but honest examination of conscience. Bear in mind also, that when Fr. Escrivá addressed "you", he was, in fact, usually speaking of himself. In his quest for holiness he was not afraid to reveal his faults if others could benefit from knowing them.
As we receive ashes this coming week, we can study this list again to seek out areas of our life which we can focus on correcting. This Lent, let's be harder on ourselves than we are on others.
St. Josemaria Escrivá, pray for us!