Choose a topic from Part 2B:

161. Humility as a Species of Modesty

1. The tendencies of a man (that is to say, his appetites)need two types of virtue for their just regulation: one to supportthem in weakness, one to moderate them when they are inordinatelyimpulsive or strong. Humility is of the second type. It is thevirtue which restrains a man lest he be immoderate in his strivingto reach high goals.

2. Humility is in the appetitive order, not the knowingorder. It is a moral virtue, a will-virtue, not an intellectualvirtue.

3. Humility is not a pose. The humble man does not bow toall others as though they were in all respects superior to himself.But humility does honestly recognize that all good, all excellence,is inGod, and that all creatural good comes from God.Therefore, humility sees God in every fellowman, and bows to thatwhich is divine.

4. Humility is a virtue allied with temperance through themedium of the virtue of modesty, which is a part oftemperance.

5. So excellent and necessary a virtue is humility thatits rank is first after the theological virtues, the intellectualvirtues that regard reason itself, and the virtue of justice.

6. Humility is a moral virtue, not an intellectual one.But it does involve the knowledge that we are what we are, and arenot to think more of ourselves than facts warrant. And back of theact of humility is reverence for God. The inward disposition ofhumility has outward manifestations which, in many instances, areexpressive of modesty. Some writers, like St. Benedict in his Rule,enumerate degrees of humility according to inner disposition andouter sign.

"To think of oneself as nothing, and always to think well and highly of others is the best and most perfect wisdom. Wherefore, if you see another sin openly or commit a serious crime, do not consider yourself better, for you do not know how long you can remain in good estate. All men are frail, but you must admit that none is more frail than yourself. "
Thomas á Kempis

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"If you wish to learn and appreciate something worth while, then love to be unknown and considered as nothing. Truly to know and despise self is the best and most perfect counsel."
Thomas á Kempis

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"Spiritual persons ought to be equally ready to experience sweetness and consolation in the things of God, or to suffer and keep their ground in drynesses of spirit and devotion, and for as long as God pleases, without their making any complaint about it."
St Philip Neri

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