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True and false humility

2 min • Digitized on February 2, 2022

From The Spirit of St. Francis de Sales, page 156
By His friend, Jean Pierre Camus, Bishop of Belley


The great lesson which on all possible occasions Blessed Francis inculcated on those who were fortunate enough to come into contact with him, and to treat with him concerning their soul’s welfare, was that which our Saviour teaches. Learn of Me, because I am meek and humble of heart. [Matt. xi. 29.] Not, however, that he attached the meaning to the words meek, and humble, often, but very erroneously, given to them.

By meekness he did not understand a kind of honeyed sweetness, too often mixed with a good deal of affectation and pretention. A wolf’s heart may be hidden under the fleece and gentle seeming of a lamb, and underneath an outside covering of humility may lurk secret arrogance, such that while appearing to lie down to be trodden under men’s feet, those humble after this fashion may by pride in their own pretended state of perfection be putting all men under their own feet. Our Lord’s words, If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself take up his cross, and follow Me, Blessed Francis, in one of his letters, explained as follows:

It is to walk side by side with our crucified Bridegroom, to abase ourselves, to humble ourselves, to despise ourselves even to the death of all our passions; yea, I say, even to the death of the Cross. But observe, my dear daughter, that this abasement, this humility, this contempt of ourselves, must, as I have told you before, be practised gently, quietly, persistently, and not only sweetly, but gladly and joyously.

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