Catholic Commute S01E36 5 Steps to becoming more Humble

Humility is hard to find and even harder to grow

Pride is a dangerous component of every sin, and of every person.  We all suffer from pride.  The less prideful you think you are, the more you actually are likely to be.  To overcome this pride requires more than simply embracing religion or speaking poorly of oneself.  It requires a change of heart.

In this episode, I discuss 5 steps to becoming more humble.  I draw heavily upon C S Lewis, both in his writings and in his book The Screwtape Letters.  Humility is hard, and I hope that you will find these suggestions to be helpful for you to overcome your own challenges with pride!

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Episode 36: 5 steps to become more humble

“Learn to be humble by doing all the humble work and doing it for Jesus. You cannot learn humility from books; you learn it by accepting humiliations. Humiliations are not meant to torture us; they are gifts from God. These little humiliations—if we accept them with joy—will help us to be holy, to have a meek and humble heart like Jesus.”

— Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, p.43

 

  • Pride is ruthless, sleepless, unsmiling, concentration on self – C S Lewis

 

  1. Realize that one is proud
    1. “Do not imagine that if you meet a really humble man he will be what most people call ‘humble’ nowadays: he will not be a sort of greasy, smarmy person, who is always telling you that, of course, he is nobody. Probably, all you will think about him is that he seemed a cheerful, intelligent chap who took a real interest in what you said to him. If you do dislike him it will be because you feel a little envious of anyone who seems to enjoy life so easily. He will not be thinking about humility: he will not be thinking about himself at all.

      If anyone would like to acquire humility, I can, I think, tell him the first step. The first step is to realise that one is proud. And a biggish step, too.  At least, nothing whatever can be done before it. If you think you are not conceited, it means you are very conceited indeed. […] CS Lewis
  2. Lose Yourself
    1. C. S. Lewis: But there must be a real giving up of the self. You must throw it away “blindly” so to speak. Christ will indeed give you a real personality: but you must not go to Him for the sake of that. As long as your own personality is what you are bothering about you are not going to Him at all. The very first step is to try to forget about the self altogether. Your real, new self (which is Christ’s and also yours, and yours just because it is His) will not come as long as you are looking for it. It will come when you are looking at Him. Does that sound strange? The same principle holds, you know, for more everyday matters. Even in social life, you will never make a good impression on other people until you stop thinking about what sort of impression you are making. Even in literature and art, no man who bothers about originality will ever be original: whereas if you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will, nine times out of ten, become original without ever having noticed it. The principle runs through all life from top to bottom. Give up your self, and you will find your real self. Lose your life and you will save it. Submit to death, death of your ambitions and favorite wishes every day and death of your whole body in the end: submit with every fiber of your being, and you will find eternal life. Keep back nothing. Nothing that you have not given away will ever be really yours. Nothing in you that has not died will ever be raised from the dead. Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay. But look for Christ and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in.1
  3. Celebrate your good as if done by another
    1. Screwtape letters quote: You must therefore conceal from the patient the true end of Humility. Let him think of it not as self- forgetfulness but as a certain kind of opinion (namely, a low opinion) of his own talents and character. Some talents, I gather, he really has. Fix in his mind the idea that humility consists in trying to believe those talents to be less valuable than he believes them to be. No doubt they are in fact less valuable than he believes, but that is not the point. The great thing is to make him value an opinion for some quality other than truth, thus introducing an element of dishonesty and make-believe into the heart of what otherwise threatens to become a virtue. By this method thousands of humans have been brought to think that humility means pretty women trying to believe they are ugly and clever men trying to believe they are fools. And since what they are trying to believe may, in some cases, be manifest nonsense, they cannot succeed in believing it and we have the chance of keeping their minds endlessly revolving on themselves in an effort to achieve the impossible. To anticipate the Enemy’s strategy, we must consider His aims. The Enemy wants to bring the man to a state of mind in which he could design the best cathedral in the world, and know it to be the best, and rejoice in the, fact, without being any more (or less) or otherwise glad at having done it than he would be if it had been done by another. The Enemy wants him, in the end, to be so free from any bias in his own favor that he can rejoice in his own talents as frankly and gratefully as in his neighbor’s talents—or in a sunrise, an elephant, or a waterfall. He wants each man, in the long run, to be able to recognize all creatures (even himself) as glorious and excellent things. He wants to kill their animal self-love as soon as possible; but it is His long- term policy, I fear, to restore to them a new kind of self-love—a charity and gratitude for all selves, including their own; when they have really learned to love their neighbors as themselves, they will be allowed to love themselves as their neighbors. For we must never forget what is the most repellent and inexplicable trait in our Enemy; He really loves the hairless bipeds He has created and always gives back to them with His right hand what He has taken away with His left.

      (3) His whole effort, therefore, will be to get the man’s mind off the subject of his own value altogether. He would rather the man thought himself a great architect or a great poet and then forgot about it, than that he should spend much time and pains trying to think himself a bad one. Your efforts to instill either vainglory or false modesty into the patient will therefore be met from the Enemy’s side with the obvious reminder that a man is not usually called upon to have an opinion of his own talents at all, since he can very well go on improving them to the best of his ability without deciding on his own precise niche in the temple of Fame.

      (4) You must try to exclude this reminder from the patient’s consciousness at all costs. The Enemy will also try to render real in the patient’s mind a doctrine which they all profess but find it difficult to bring home to their feelings—the doctrine that they did not create themselves, that their talents were given them, and that they might as well be proud of the color of their hair. But always and by all methods the Enemy’s aim will be to get the patient’s mind off such questions, and yours will be to fix it on them. Even of his sins the Enemy does not want him to think too much: once they are repented, the sooner the man turns his attention outward, the better the Enemy is pleased,
  4. Release control to God
    1. Pride makes you sure that you know what will happen
    2. Leads to anger and anxiety
    3. Instead of focusing on the fact that there is a God, realize that
      1. He is real, He is the real King, the real praiseworthy
      2. He came down from heaven just for you, had such value for you.  He reversed places from you
      3. He came down for you humbles you
      4. He loves you enough gives you joy.
      5. Jesus was so strong that He didn’t care what people thought of Him, instead He cared for you.  When you realize that, you will be strong enough to be weak, to be humble.
  5. Embrace the right king
    1. Don’t try to escape by embracing religiosity
    2. Religiosity will kill off lust/materialism
    3. It just makes pride worse – there is no proud people like pharisees.
    4. At the core, comparing oneself to God makes one focus on self.
    5. Esther 6: King asks Haman what to do for a man the king delights to honor.  Haman thinks it means himself. Haman, desperate to be honored, to be recognized, comes up with great example.  Robes, horse, etc.
    6. Haman didn’t ask the wrong thing, he asked the wrong King – the praise of the praiseworthy is above all rewards.
    7. To his shock, the king says “do this to Mordecai”

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