THE PRACTICE OF THE LOVE OF JESUS CHRIST
XX.-HE WHO LOVES JESUS CHRIST IS NOT VAIN, BUT HUMBLES HIMSELF, AND IS GLAD TO BE HUMBLED
St. Francis of Sales said, “to support injury is the touchstone of humility and of true virtue.” If a person aspiring to spirituality practises prayer, frequent Communion, fasts, and mortifies himself, and yet cannot put up with an affront, or a biting word, what is it a sign of? It is a sign that he is a hollow reed, without humility and without virtue. And what indeed can a soul do that loves Jesus Christ, if she is unable to endure a slight for the love of Jesus Christ, Who has endured so much for her. Thomas a Kempis, in his golden little book of the Imitation of Christ, writes as follows: “Since you have such an abhorrence of being humbled, it is a sign that you are not dead to the world, have no humility, and that you do not keep God before your eyes. He that has not God before his eyes is disturbed at every syllable of censure that he hears.” Thou canst not endure cuffs and blows for God-endure at least a pass.
Oh, what surprise and scandal does that person occasion, who communicates often, and then is ready to resent every little word of contempt! On the contrary, what edification does a soul give that answers contempt with words of mildness, spoken in order to conciliate the offender; or perhaps makes no reply at all, nor complains of it to others, but continues with placid looks and without showing the least sign of indignation! St. John Chrysostom says that a meek person is not only serviceable to himself but likewise to others, by the good example he sets them of meekness in bearing contempt: “The meek man is useful to himself and to others.” Thomas a Kempis mentions, with regard to this subject, several things in which we should practise humility. He writes as follows: “What others say shall command an attentive hearing, and what you say shall be taken no notice of. Others shall make a request and obtain it; you shall ask for something and meet with a refusal. Others shall be magnified in the mouths of men, and on you no one shall bestow a word. Such and such an office shall be conferred on others, but you shall be passed by as unfit for anything. With such like trials the Lord is wont to prove His faithful servant, and to see how far he has learnt to overcome himself and to hold his peace. Nature, indeed, will at times not like it; but you will derive immense profit thereby, if you support all in silence.”