06-18-2016, 08:33 AM
Βlessed and favoured people who are humble are meek, calm, serene, attached to virtue, opposed to evil, untroubled by any circumstance or threat. They live in the bosom of the faith, like infants in the maternal embrace of grace. They never live for themselves, because they’ve forgotten what that is. They’ve become one with the others; they become all things to everyone, in order to bring solace to them. They cry with those who are weeping and rejoice with those who are glad. Since, by grace, they’ve been absorbed into Christ the Saviour, they bear all burdens, without ever distressing or embittering other people. In the fullness of their love towards others, even towards irrational creation, by their submission to every other person, they provide whatever it is that circumstances demand while, at the same time, disappearing into the cover of their humility so as to pass unnoticed. They avoid the limelight, turn down honours and don’t seek gratitude. They’re beloved by all and never have any enemies. If ever there’s cause for them to be taunted and judged, the charges against them won’t stand up to a personal confrontation. The mystical protection of grace which accompanies them inspires fear and veneration in other people and their decisions and feelings are changed in a trice. Those who were at first accusers are transformed into servants. But even irrational creation, animate and inanimate, changes its roughness in the presence of humble people. The divine grace which enfolds them is perceptible immediately by the harsh elements and the wild animals, which cease their natural activity and are transformed into servants, because, around humble people, they scent their first lord, sinless Adam, who approached them and gave them names, as their master and godfather.
In the presence of humble people, we can all discern the character of Christ the Saviour, of the New Creation, the new Adam. He Who fasted in the desert, was with the wild animals and served by angels; He Who walked on the water and rebuked the winds and the storm; He Who cast out evil demons, Who cured the disease that affects all humankind by vanquishing death; He Who gave life, Who became and is ‘the Resurrection of all’ and Who praised the humble, saying ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit for of such is the kingdom of heaven’.
According to the Fathers, humility is a gift of the Holy Spirit, not merely a human accomplishment. It’s given to those who desire it, seek it and work painstakingly on the things which contribute to the successful acquisition of this blessing. Humility begins with the humble outlook and ends with behaving humbly. People who don’t attribute to themselves abilities greater than those possessed by others and who think humbly about themselves, begin to value their fellow human beings, accept blame when they’re admonished and listen to advice. They become gentler in character, restrain their anger and are easily moved to sympathy. If they make this position dependent on God and do so as a conscious effort of Christian morality, they pray to God and beg Him to strengthen them. Then they make progress, by God’s grace, towards the feeling of more perfect humility, which is a gift of God. There are also people who are naturally gifted with meekness and humility, and though this is praiseworthy, it’s not worthy of reward, because these qualities have been acquired without labour, struggle and effort.