THE PRACTICE OF THE LOVE OF JESUS CHRIST
XIX.-HE THAT LOVES JESUS CHRIST IS NOT VAIN, BUT HUMBLES HIMSELF, AND IS GLAD TO BE HUMBLED
But it is not enough, in order to be humble, to have a lowly opinion of ourselves, and to consider ourselves the miserable beings that we really are; the man who is truly humble, says Thomas a Kempis, despises himself, and wishes also to be despised by others. This is what Jesus Christ so earnestly recommends us to practise, after His example: Learn of me, because I am meek and humble of heart-(Matt. xi. 29). Whoever styles himself the greatest sinner in the world, and then is angry when others despise him, plainly shows humility of tongue, but not of heart. St. Thomas Aquinas says that a person who resents being slighted may be certain that he is far distant from perfection, even though he should work miracles. The Divine Mother sent St. Ignatius Loyola from Heaven to instruct St. Mary Magdalen de Pazzi in humility; and behold the lesson which the Saint gave her: “Humility is a gladness at whatever leads us to despise ourselves.” Mark well, a gladness; if the feelings are stirred to resentment at the contempt we receive, let us be glad, at least, in spirit.
And how is it possible for a soul not to love contempt if she loves Jesus Christ, and beholds how her God was buffeted and spit upon, and how He suffered in His Passion! Then did they spit in his face, and buffeted him; and others struck his face with the palms of their hands-(Matt. xxvi. 67). For this purpose our Redeemer wishes us to keep His image exposed on our altars, not indeed representing Him in glory, but nailed to the Cross, that we might have His ignominies constantly before our eyes; a sight which made the Saints rejoice at being vilified in this world. And such was the prayer which St. John of the Cross addressed to Jesus Christ, when He appeared to him with the Cross upon His shoulders: “O Lord, let me suffer, and be despised for Thee!” My Lord, on beholding Thee so reviled for my love, I only ask of Thee to let me suffer and be despised for Thy love.