Humility – Shortcut to Holiness and Happiness

If you would like to learn more about the virtue of humility, the shortcut to holiness, happiness and peace of soul then read on. Specifically in this article I will be discussing a hidden though important virtue needed to gain entrance into the kingdom of Heaven both here on earth and when we die.

After you’re finished with this article you will have a deeper understanding of this wonderful virtue. But first a word of warning, the more you practice this shortcut the more holy, happy and popular you will be. Your life will never be the same again! You will also obtain an eternal glory far outweighing anything you may ‘lose’ from your ego desires, which are often thwarted and are really the cause of much of our suffering and dissatisfaction with life.

The key to understanding this hidden yet powerful virtue is simple; ‘before there can be glory, there must be humility’ (Prov 15:33).

Just as at least a touch of pride is necessary for every sin, so too at least a touch of humility is necessary for any act of love and service to God or our neighbour.

I am sure you will agree that a proud person who takes the credit for everything they have or do or even worse, takes the credit for what they imagine they have or do, is as welcome and loved as a skunk at a lawn party.

By contrast, a humble person is always liked, loved and welcome. People feel safe around humble people who are not trying to prove how superior they are or who are looking disdainfully down their noses at others.

The hearts of the humble are full of acceptance and peace, they love naturally almost without effort. It is this ability to accept others and love naturally that makes us loving, love being God. The more we can imitate God the holier we become.

Also, the more we love, the more we do God’s will on earth and this is where our true happiness lives.

One day when asked what virtue was the most essential one to practice to be holy, St Jean Marie Vianney, answered; ‘humility, humility, humility’. His words still ring true today! Even more so in the age of the ‘me’ ego generations.

The Bible tells us that when Jesus came on earth, the one thing he asked us all to do was to; ‘learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart’ and the reward of such humility he assured us would be the precious ‘rest for your souls'(Mt 11:29) which so many are seeking often fruitlessly in this day and age.

It is really only by the grace of God that we can be humble as we are naturally proud and also prone to sin. We need to ask this grace for ourselves and others every day, the grace of humility, for Jesus warned us when he said: ‘I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me, with me in him, bears fruit in plenty, for cut off from me you can do nothing’ (Jn 15:5).

Without Jesus and the grace he grants us through the Holy Spirit to be humble, we simply cannot do it. It doesn’t come naturally to us to be humble except in rare personalities.

Knowing and believing that we can do nothing without Christ is itself an essential element of true humility. Therefore humility is simply knowing and living the truth that we need God at every moment for our existence, and for our happiness too.

Humility is also essentially truth, we are creatures, God is our Creator, it’s as simple as that. We exist primarily to know, love and serve God. When we deviate from this course things start to go wrong for us, we sin and lose grace (the supernatural power to do good, to do God’s will). In a nutshell we lose out on our chance of happiness.

Humility also consists in being grateful to God for all his blessings and striving to be satisfied with God’s will in our lives. The words of Robert Louis Stevenson spring to mind “The person who has stopped being thankful has fallen asleep in life,” and on the path of humility snoozing is always a backward step!

Humility therefore is a shortcut to holiness and its blessed reward which is peace of soul even here on earth and even in the midst of difficulties on all sides, as the Apostle Paul experienced, who learned to be content no matter the circumstances of his life. He was beaten, shipwrecked and attacked on all sides but his humility guarded his peace of soul.

Through humility we also come to realise in a deeper way that God is our father, protecting and loving us and keeping us in existence at every moment; ‘In God we live and move and have our being’.

As such, we fear to offend God though sin and this gives us true wisdom of heart for the ‘fear of the Lord is a school of wisdom’ (Prov 15:33). Indeed, wisdom and humility are interwoven as the links in a chain are and as the Book of Proverbs states it is only ‘with the humble’ that ‘wisdom is found’.(Prov 11:2).

Therefore humility is a lowly virtue which helps us to climb to the lofty heights of holiness and of union with a God who is love. The importance of humility cannot be overestimated when aiming for holiness, that true, lasting and authentic happiness we all seek deep down.

Jesus is continually calling us to humility which directly goes against the clamour for the world’s esteem and our own human nature which wants to be superior and exult ourselves above others but paradoxically it is the true path to peace of soul.

So now you know more about humility, you will be more willing to put it into practice. There is an excellent book on the subject by Fr Cajetan de Bergamo called ‘Humility of Heart’. It is a little old fashioned but an excellent resource.