You are love; You are wisdom; You are humility
. – St Francis of Assisi, The Praises of God

 

Humility means having a proper, balanced understanding of yourself; knowing both your strengths and weaknesses. As Saint Teresa of Avila once said, humility is truth; and that would include a true perception of oneself.

If anyone has absolutely no illusions about himself, it’s God. God comprehends Himself perfectly, and so is perfectly humble.

The Bible contains many passages which point to God’s humility. The ones which most easily come to mind refer to the humility of Christ in becoming human, such as this one: “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:5-8).

Though equal to God the Father in His Divinity, Jesus became subordinate to Him in His Humanity (John 14:28). Moreover, as the God-Man, Jesus humbled Himself to the point of submitting to a painful, humiliating execution, out of love for the Father and for us. That is a startling manifestation of Divine Humility!

Jesus once said of Himself, “I am meek and humble of heart” (Matthew 11:29). Our Saviour’s Heart – His innermost Being – is essentially humble, as the Gospels abundantly reveal. But since the Incarnate Son is the revelation of the Godhead, the Father and the Spirit must also be humble.

Jesus once said of the Spirit, “He will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak … He will glorify me” (John 16:13-14). The Holy Spirit, who is God Almighty, chooses to only glorify Christ on earth, thus effectively submitting to a Divine Equal! That is another striking example of humility.

But what about God the Father? Let’s see what Scripture has to say:

Who is like the Lord our God, Who is enthroned on high, Who humbles Himself to behold the things in heaven and on earth? – Psalm 113:5-6

For thus says the high and lofty One who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: “I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite. – Isaiah 57:15

Yes, the Father is humble in that He ignores human grandeur and chooses to associate with the lowly and poor. Holy Mary knew this truth well, as she sang, “He has regarded the lowly estate of his handmaiden” (Luke 1:47). The humble Handmaid whom God chose to bear the Messiah is well aware of the Divine Humility.

So is Saint Paul, who writes that God chose to save humanity through the “foolishness” of the Cross (I Corinthians 1:23). “but God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise, God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong, God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are” (vvs 27-28). The fact that the Most High God, Who is Infinite Wisdom and Power, should make the way of salvation “foolish” in the eyes of the world is impossible to comprehend apart from the Divine Humility.

How correct Saint Francis was in saying that God is Humility!

O Divine Spirit, who efface Yourself before the Father and Son;
O Jesus, meek and humble of heart;
O Abba Father, who humble Yourself to commune with the lowly;
O beautiful Trinity, You are Humility!

 

From The Brothers and Sisters of Penance of St Francis