Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Humility Alone Triumphs Over Demons

From Vultus Christi:
The humble man is docile. He follows the practices and observances that he finds in place. He does not run after novelties. He is happy to be one brother among many, without seeking to assert himself, or to change what has been handed on to him. He is realistic about the shortcomings and infirmities of his seniors, but he loves them all the more when their weaknesses are evident. The humble man is not on the look–out for mistakes and inaccuracies. With regard to rubrics and ceremonies, he follows the instructions of the Master of Ceremonies and the principles set forth by the abbot. With regard to the chant, he is obedient to the indications of the choir master and accepts his corrections with modesty and good cheer.
Amma Theodora said that neither asceticism, nor vigils nor any kind of suffering are able to save, only true humility can do that. There was an anchorite who was able to banish the demons; and he asked them, ‘What makes you go away?’ ‘Is it fasting?’ They replied, ‘We do not eat or drink.’ ‘Is it vigils?’ They replied, ‘We do not sleep.’ ‘Is it separation from the world?’ ‘We live in the deserts.’ ‘What power sends you away then?’ They said, ‘Nothing can overcome us, but only humility.’ ‘Do you see how humility is victorious over the demons?’
The prideful man seeks to leave his mark on everything, by doing things in a way that sets him apart. He follows his own version of the common observance by inserting into it queer little peculiarities. He is nearly always repeating to himself what the Pharisee said in the temple: ” I thank thee, God, that I am not like the rest of men” (Luke 18:11). More often than not, this need to be singular and to set oneself apart from others and above them is a longstanding personality trait, one that can be traced back to pre-school or even earlier. It may originate in a fundamental insecurity that makes a child want to be noticed, to win attention, or approval, or praise. It may originate in a fear of losing control over circumstances and events. It may also originate in a fear of being lost in the crowd, of being the same as others, or not coming out on top. (Read more.)

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