Thought for the Day – 21 January – Meditations with Antonio Cardinal Bacci (1881-1971)
“Humility is the most difficult of all the virtues, because it requires us to deny ourselves.
Jesus warns us, that anyone who wishes to follow Him, must deny himself. “If anyone wishes to come after me, let him deny himself” (Mt 16:24).
Humility is necessary if we wish to go straight to Jesus, Who was the first to humble Himself by becoming obedient unto death, even to the death of the Cross (Phil 2:8).
The Imitation of Christ contains some profound remarks upon this subject. “Seldom do we find anyone so spiritual as to be stripped of all things… If a man gives his whole substance, still it is nothing. And if he do great penance, it is but little. And if he attain to all knowledge, he is far off still. And if he have great virtue and very fervent devotions, there is still much wanting to him, namely, the one thing which is supremely necessary for him. What is that? That having left all things else, he leave also himself and wholly go out of himself and retain nothing of self-love.” (Bk II c 2:4).
When he has done all this, remember, he has only given God all that he received from Him.
He has given nothing which was really his.
He has only fulfilled an obligation of restitution.
When he has arrived at this stage of humility, therefore, he should repeat the words of Jesus. “When you have done everything that was commanded you, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants, we have done what it was our duty to do'” (Lk 17:10).
This is genuine humility, as preached in the Gospel.”