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Coptic Orthodox Church
How to be humble
I have struggling wih this, how can be humble when you succeed in worldly affairs or spiritual life without sucumbbing to self righteousness. I have struggled alot of with this just want to know what you guys think. Pls remeber in your prayers
firstly, whoever replies first is not humble - this is not the action of a humble person!
secondly, the answer to this may be similar to living with God in solitude while staying in the world, so try some of these links i posted in the other thread:
Thank you Im sorry I feel like I have set a trap for you guys by asking the question Im sorry forgive me and remeber me in your prayers
I personally struggle to learn this virtue as well. The saints can teach us this virtue. St. Cyril of Alexandria said: “If the poison of pride is swelling up in you, turn to the Eucharist; and that Bread, Which is your God humbling and disguising Himself, will teach you humility. If the fever of selfish greed rages in you, feed on this Bread; and you will learn generosity. If the cold wind of coveting withers you, hasten to the Bread of Angels; and charity will come to blossom in your heart. If you feel the itch of intemperance, nourish yourself with the Flesh and Blood of Christ, Who practiced heroic self-control during His earthly life; and you will become temperate. If you are lazy and sluggish about spiritual things, strengthen yourself with this heavenly Food; and you will grow fervent. Lastly, if you feel scorched by the fever of impurity, go to the banquet of the Angels; and the spotless Flesh of Christ will make you pure and chaste.”
These are sayings by St. John the Short about humility and it’s truly amazing!
Lastly, this sermon is really awesome too!
Remember me in your prayers.
This is very difficult and I think a hard balance to maintain. Tend to find people describe my disposition as humble and there is a price you pay for that. At work (as an example) when you go for an interview, etc you need to convince people that you can do your job or that your ideas are the right way forward. Its hard to do that when you don't convey a sense of confidence. I've just started a new job and I'm struggling to have my boss listen to things I say, he keeps deferring to other. Its only when he saw my work that he got some confidence from knowing my capabilities.
I would hate to offer myself as any sort of analogy but people in a variety of situations expect you to sell your ability. You'd find it hard to get a job or get married without doing that in some measure. Humility is also something you could confuse with self-doubt, I suspect in my case I'm guilty of the latter.
I think Paul the Apostle is a fascinating case study because in his letters he is always balancing on a line between presenting himself with humility and asserting his authority. He needs to do this because some communities like the Corinthians challenged the legitimacy of his apostleship. He wouldn't be able to own his role as an Apostle unless people were persuaded by his knowledge and authority. On the other hand he also needs to project a disposition of modesty and lowliness. How Paul is able to do both of these things at the same time is a very delicate balancing act. St John Chrysostom wrote a really good book about this but the name escapes me right now.
One of this things most greatly confused with humility is self depreciation. I think as the saying goes, humility is not thinking less of yourself, its thinking of yourself less. Any person who comes in contact with the grandure of God naturally desires for that greatness to become all in all. It becomes our desire to magnify and glory in it. I suppose we become less self conscious and our attention pans from our own preoccupation to the remembrance of God continually. Hence humility can be most rightly described as two things, lowliness of mind and God centeredness, without the latter our humility is void and purposeless.
The whole problem of ego and humility comes from the fall. When Adam fell in the garden his disposition was changed from continual contemplation on God and was replaced with a focus on himself. Our mind, now fractured after falling away for contemplating on God's glory continually replaced that noble thought with memories of one's self. Pride or ego is hence a sort of radio (its not even a real form of conciousness) where the mind is projecting back to us a picture of ourselves (constructed from memory). Because of what is this and where it comes from this picture is never real, its a false form of self evaluation. The human person without the agency of the Holy Spirit can never really see themselves as they actually are.
So to bring this arc back to what a person can do, the answer is prayers such as the Jesus prayer. They were developed with the intention of solving these problems of false identity (i.e. pride). It brings us back to continual contemplation on God and when we attain a small measure of this we will naturally be more disposed to love God and others. The more God is present in our thoughts and we have a high minded evaluation of His greatness, we will naturally become more humble.