Thursday, July 21, 2011

Humility

Today's reading came from Jean Nicolas Grou, a man I've never heard of.  His views on humility jived nicely with my own, or at least with my wrestling with the concept. I've always seen humility as passivity and have enacted it as such. This is not real humility.  Grou begins by asking us to see if we can honestly ask for humility as a virtue, and if so, to ask and it will be surely given to us.  so far so good. we've all heard this before. then comes the caveat.. " But many who pray for humility would be extremely sorry if God were to grant it to them...they forget that to love, desire and ask for humility is loving, desiring, and asking for humiliations, for these things are the companions, or rather the food for humility, and without them it is no more than a beautiful but meaningless idea."  I forget that faith = trust. and trust is only visible in hardships, confusion, doubt, uncertainty. I forget that faith is a dirty, filthy, earthy thing as well as a divine one.  It's a physical thing, enacted in the temporal world and without that, it is just a pretty theory. And by dirty, I mean that learning humility will be hard, hard work, will involve messy situations that will stick with you, coat you with memories. you have to be inherently invested in this world to learn humility. Grou agrees with this. he says that 'if the bare thought of humiliation fills us with horror; if we repel it with out whole strength; if pride and self-love get the better of us on every occasion...the fact is that we dislike it and our prayers are a delusion"  
The sentence in bold means prayer is a two step process.  I must first recognize that the concept, the verse, the teaching is good. That is has a profound meaning for my lives, that it is something I should implement in my life.
second, that this particular teaching, concept, virtue, is something I can implement. That I am not simply saying, I should look for this, but that I can. Should implies that I haven't allowed my own history, character, situation to be factored in and that is very very foolish. without the immediacy and physicality of my own experiences, the concepts remain esoteric, of no practical import and will do me no good. If however, I don't allow them their intellectual, divine non-physical, eternal existence, they are nothing more than my own attempts to create meaning from chaos. 
So reading Grou, It came to me to ask wether humility is something I should pray for. and with all due humility, I think it is not. I find that I have such a poor idea of true humility, that I would be reinforcing a bad humility, a negation of a self that is not yet clearly defined. The irony of course is that once it is defined, I will be ready to pray for humility.  
Humility is one of the hardest virtues to have. to easily it is a re-enforcement of insecurity, an inaccurate assumption of worth. Real humility is knowing ones worth, having confidence in ones value, and letting go of the right to demand it be recognized, to instead be a tool for a higher purpose. For those who can do this  their "offer is a real consecration. From that moment they should feel they are not their own, but belong to Jesus Christ and are fighting under his standard"  

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