20140217 Soul ascends by descending 謙卑者備受舉揚

St. Augustine said, “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 100 times, I should always give the same answer.”

Humility and truth
St. Vincent de Paul said, “Humility is nothing but truth, and pride is nothing but lying.”
A humble person does not fancy he knows what he does not know. He would neither boast of what he knew, nor pretend to be more ignorant than he was. A truly humble person wants to be humble, not just appear humble.
St. Vincent said, “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.”
Knowledge of God and of self helps us to grow in humility. Distrust of self is a real virtue if it is accompanied by trust in God.
St. Francis de Sales wrote, “Assuredly, nothing so tends to humble us before the compassion of God as the multitude of His gifts to us; just as nothing so tends to humble us before His justice as the multitude of our misdeeds. Let us consider what He has done for us, and what we have done contrary to His will, and as we review our sins in detail, so let us review His grace in the same.”
Humility and trust in God are inseparable. The saint pointed out that “distrustful humility is always a false humility.” Self-distrust and confidence in God are the two mystic wings of the soul ascending to God.

Humility and virtues
St. Francis de Sales used to say, “Humility is a descending charity, and charity is an ascending humility.”
He wrote, “When charity requires it, you should readily and kindly impart to your neighbour not only that which is necessary for his instruction, but also what is profitable for his consolation. The same humility which conceals graces with a view to their preservation is ready to bring them forth at the bidding of charity, with a view to their increase and perfection.”
St. Thomas of Villanova pointed out that “humility is the mother of many virtues.”
St. Francis de Sales wrote, “You may test real worth as we test balm, which is tried by being distilled in water, and if it is precipitated to the bottom, it is known to be pure and precious.
“So if you want to know whether a man is really wise, learned, generous, or noble, observe whether his gifts make him humble, modest, and submissive. If so, his gifts are genuine; but if they are only surface and showy, you may be sure that in proportion as they make a show, so are they less worthy.”
St. Josemaria Escriva wrote, “It was because of pride. You thought you were already capable of everything, all by yourself. But then He left you for a moment and you fell, headlong. Be humble, and His extraordinary aid will not fail you.”
The saint also wrote, “Get rid of those proud thoughts! You are but the brush in the hand of the artist, and nothing more. Tell me, what is a brush good for if it doesn’t let the artist do his work?”

聖奧斯定說:「謙遜是諸聖德的基礎;故此,缺乏謙遜的靈魂便是沒有真正的德行,只流於外在的表現而已。推此,謙遜是為得天上恩惠的最適當準備。最後,謙遜為成聖是那樣必要,一切到達成聖的路—-第一是謙遜;第二是謙遜;第三是謙遜。就算追問我一百次,答案仍是同一個。」

 

 

謙遜與真實

 

聖文生說:「謙遜等於真實,驕傲就是虛假。」謙遜的人,對不懂的就說不懂,不會裝模作樣,以懂去掩飾不懂,對懂的就會直說,不佯裝不懂,也不會侃侃滔滔,誇大其詞,言過其實。真正謙遜的人顯出真正的謙遜,而不是裝作謙遜。聖文生又說:「對抗魔鬼最有力的德行,莫如謙遜之德。因為魔鬼不知道如何使用謙德,也不知道如何抵抗謙德。」

 

認識天主和認識自己,能幫助謙遜的增長。仰賴天主的自卑是真正的德行。聖方濟.沙雷寫道:「最能幫助我們在天主的慈愛前自謙自卑就是想到祂賜予我們充盈的恩惠;正如最能幫助我們在天主的公義前自謙自卑就是想到我們眾多的罪愆。讓我們想想,天主為我們所做的一切,我們卻又經常忤逆祂的旨意;當我們細數自己的罪孽時,讓我們亦回顧祂對的恩惠。」謙遜和仰賴天主是不可分割的。聖人指出:「不仰賴天主的謙遜,是虛假的謙遜。」自謙和仰賴,雙翼齊飛,靈魂直奔天庭。

 

謙遜與德行

 

聖方濟.沙雷常說道:「謙遜是自甘卑下的愛德,愛德便是高尚的謙遜。」他又寫道:「為了愛德,我們不但要樂意善意地給近人為受教所需要的,也要給他為得安慰所有用的。那為保存而隱藏聖寵的謙德,也隨時準備在愛德的要求下,為增長和成全而將聖寵帶出來。」

聖多默.威拉諾指出:「謙遜是諸德之母。」聖方濟.沙雷指出:「我們測試香脂,會把它蒸餾於水中,假如它沉澱在水底,便知道那是純潔和珍貴了。如果我們要知道一個人是否真正有智慧、有學識、慷慨或高尚,不妨觀察他所擁有的,是否能使他謙恭和服從,便是確切的;否則,它們只是表面的和誇示的,其身價大打折扣。」

 

聖施禮華寫著:「因為驕傲而變得自負,以為自己無所不能。但當天主離你一刻,你便快速地跌倒。要謙卑!主的特恩不會離棄你」他又寫道:「擯棄驕傲的念頭吧,因為你只不過是畫匠手中的一把畫掃。告訴我,假如這畫掃不願受畫匠所用,這畫掃的功用和價值又何在呢?」

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