Wednesday, September 01, 2010

On Humility - Dietrich von Hildrebrand

"He who possesses humility derives from his confrontation with God not only an awareness of his nothingness and obscurity but a keen experience of his dependence as well. He realizes the truth that he is wholly at the mercy of the all-powerful Lord of life and earth, that whatever thought he might have of escaping or eluding God could not but be a pure illusion. 'Whither shall I go from Thy spirit? Or whither shall I flee from Thy face?'

However, for the Christian, this sense of dependence takes on the aspect of being sheltered in God. The thought of his total impotence in relation to God does not arouse depression or anguish in him; he does not attempt to keep up an illusion of sovereignty and to arrange his life as though he were his own master.

Rather, he flings himself into the arms of the Almighty; he deliberately assents to his status of dependence, and prays with the holy Church, 'Into Thy hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.' Humility, then, contains not merely the knowledge of our dependence on God but the active conformity of our will to it; our blissful surrender to God. The humble one feels sheltered in God, indeed, as a possession of God. 'We are his people and the sheep of his pasture.'"

Excerpt from Humility - Wellspring of Virtue by Dietrich von Hildebrand. Available through Sophia Press.

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