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A Year with the Saints
1. Humility is the foundation of all the virtues; therefore, in a soul where it does not exist there can be no true virtue, but the mere appearance only. In like manner, it is the most proper disposition for all celestial gifts. And, finally, it is so necessary to perfection, that of all the ways to reach it, the first is humility; the second, humility; the third, humility. And if the question were repeated a hundred times, I should always give the same answer.----St. Augustine
St. Vincent de Paul perceived that all his advancement and almost all the graces he had received were due to this virtue; and for this reason he inculcated it so much and so greatly desired to introduce it into his congregation.
St. Aloysius Gonzaga, who knew this truth well, took no greater pains in acquiring any other virtue. For this purpose he recited every day a special prayer to the Angels that they would aid him to walk in this royal road, which they themselves had first trodden, that he might finally succeed in gaining the position of one of those stars that fell from Heaven through pride.
A certain man named Pascasius said that for twenty years he had never asked anything of God except humility, and yet that he had but little of it. However, when no one was able to expel a devil from a possessed person, Pascasius had scarcely entered the church before the devil cried out, "This man I fear," and immediately departed.
Fra Maffeo, a companion of St. Francis, once heard, in a conference on humility, that a great servant of God was very remarkable for this virtue, and that on account of it God loaded him with spiritual gifts. He was thus inspired with so great a love for it, that he made a vow never to rest until he should perceive that he had acquired it. He remained, then, shut up in his cell, asking of God true humility, with tears, fasting, mourning, and many prayers. One day he went out in the woods, and while he was sighing and asking this grace from God, with ejaculatory prayers, he heard the Lord saying to him, "Fra Maffeo, what would you give for humility?" He answered, "I would give my eyes!" "And I," replied the Lord, "desire that you should have your eyes, and the grace you seek." Suddenly there entered his heart a great joy, and at the same time he had the lowest possible opinion of himself, so that he considered himself the least of all men.
2. Humility is the mother of many virtues. From it spring obedience, holy fear, reverence, patience, modesty, mildness, and peace; for, whoever is humble easily obeys all, fears to offend any, maintains peace with all, shows himself affable to all, is submissive to all, does not offend or displease any, and does not feel the insults which may be inflicted upon him. He lives happy and contented, and in great peace.----St. Thomas of Villanova
Here we see the reason why St. Francis, St. Dominic, St. Vincent de Paul and so many others became remarkable for all the virtues above mentioned. It is because they were remarkable for humility.
St. Jane Frances de Chantal had conceived so much affection for this virtue, that she watched over herself with !the greatest attention, in order that she might not allow even the smallest occasion of practicing it to escape. And she once said to St. Francis de Sales, "My dearest Father, I beg you, for the love of God, help me to humble myself."
3. Whoever is not very humble, can never draw profit from contemplation, in which any little atom of insufficient humility, though it may seem nothing, works the greatest harm.----St. Teresa
One day, the Blessed Virgin prayed her most holy Son that He would bestow some spiritual gifts upon St. Bridget. But He gave her this reply: "Whoever seeks lofty things ought first to be exercised in the lowly, by the paths of humility." Because the blessed Clara of Montefalco experienced a vain pleasure in some things she had done, the Lord withdrew from her for fifteen years, His lights and celestial consolations, which she could not regain during all that time, though she begged for them earnestly, with tears, prayers, and the use of the discipline.
4. Humility is necessary not only for the acquisition of virtues, but even for salvation. For the gate of Heaven, as Christ Himself testifies, is so narrow that it admits only little ones.----St. Bernard
The Pharisee was separated by his condition in life from the rest of the people, as this sect formed a kind of religious order, in which they prayed, fasted, and performed many other good works; but he was, notwithstanding, reproved by God. Why, then, was this? For no other reason than that he was wanting in humility; for he felt much satisfaction in his good works, and gloried in them as if they were the result of his own virtue.
William, Bishop of Lyons, tells in his Chronicles, of a monk who often violated the prescribed silence, but upon being admonished spiritually by his Abbot he amended, and became so recollected and so devout that he was worthy to receive from God many revelations. Now, it happened that the Father Abbot was sent for by a hermit, who, having reached the close of a virtuous life, desired to receive from him the last Sacraments. The Abbot went, and took with him the silent monk. On the road, a robber, hearing the little bell, accompanied the Blessed Sacrament as far as the cell of the dying man; but he stopped outside, considering himself unworthy to enter the abode of a saint. After the hermit had confessed and received Communion with humility, the robber kept repeating at the door, "Oh, Father, if I were but like you, oh, how happy should I be!" The hermit hearing this, said in his heart, with presumption and complacency, "You are right to desire this; who can doubt it?" and immediately expired. Then the good Religious began to weep, and withdrew from the Abbot. The robber followed them, with tears and hatred for his sins, and the full purpose of confessing and doing penance for them, as soon as they should arrive at the monastery. But he was not able to reach it, for on the way he fell unexpectedly to the ground and died. At this accident, the Religious became joyous again and laughed; and when the Abbot asked him why he had been sad at the death of the hermit, and joyful at that of the robber, he replied: "Because the former is lost, in punishment for his presumption, and the latter saved, on account of his strong resolution to do fitting penance for his sins; and the sorrow he felt for them was so great that it has cancelled even all their penalty."

[From The True Spouse of Jesus Christ:
At the death of 
the hermit his companion burst into tears; but at the
fate of the robber he exulted with joy. Being asked
why he wept over the death of the former and rejoiced
at the melancholy end of the latter, he replied: Because
the robber was saved by contrition for his past sins, but
my companion is damned in punishment of his pride.
Do not imagine that the hermit yielded to pride only at
the hour of death: from his last words it is clear that
pride had long before taken root in his heart; by its
baneful influence he was brought to a miserable eternity. ]
5. The most powerful weapon to conquer the devil is humility. For, as he does not know at all how to employ it, neither does he know how to defend himself from it.----St. Vincent de Paul
When Macarius was returning one day to his cell, he met the devil, who, with a scythe in his hand, tried to cut him in pieces. But he could not do it, because as soon as he came near, he lost his strength. Then, full of rage, he said, "Great misery do I suffer from thee, O Macarius; for, though I wish so much to hurt thee, I am not able. It is strange! I do all that thou doest, and even more; thou dost fast sometimes, and I never eat; thou sleepest little, and I never close my eyes; thou art chaste, and so am I. In one thing only thou surpassest me." "And what is that one thing?" inquired Macarius. "It is thy great humility," replied the demon. Saying this, he disappeared, and was seen no more.
The devil once appeared to a monk in the form of the Archangel Gabriel, and said that he was sent to him by God. The monk replied, "See that thou be not sent by another!" And the devil immediately disappeared.
When an old priest was exorcising a possessed person, the demon said that he would never come out, if he did not first tell him what the goats and what the lambs were like. The good priest quickly answered: "The goats are all those who are like me. What the lambs may resemble, God knows." At these words, the devil cried out: "Through your humility I can no longer remain here," and immediately departed.

(accustomed to be said after celebration of Mass,
by Merry Cardinal del Val, secretary of state to
Pope Saint Pius X)

(for private use only)

O Jesus, meek and humble of heart,
Hear me.

From the desire of being esteemed,
Deliver me, O Jesus.
From the desire of being loved,
Deliver me, O Jesus.
From the desire of being extolled,
Deliver me, O Jesus.
From the desire of being honored,
Deliver me, O Jesus.
From the desire of being praised,
Deliver me, O Jesus.
From the desire of being preferred to others,
Deliver me, O Jesus.
From the desire of being consulted,
Deliver me, O Jesus.
From the desire of being approved,
Deliver me, O Jesus.

From the fear of being humiliated,
Deliver me, O Jesus.
From the fear of being despised,
Deliver me, O Jesus.
From the fear of suffering rebukes,
Deliver me, O Jesus.
From the fear of being calumniated,
Deliver me, O Jesus.
From the fear of being forgotten,
Deliver me, O Jesus.
From the fear of being ridiculed,
Deliver me, O Jesus.
From the fear of being wronged,
Deliver me, O Jesus.
From the fear of being suspected,
Deliver me, O Jesus.

That others may be loved more than I,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be esteemed more than I,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That, in the opinion of the world,
others may increase and I may decrease,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be chosen and I set aside,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be praised and I go unnoticed,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be preferred to me in everything,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may become holier than I,
provided that I may become as holy as I should,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.