Growing in Humility

Français : Lavement des pieds de Saint Pierre ...

Français : Lavement des pieds de Saint Pierre par Jésus. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In one of his ordination charges given while Archbishop of Canterbury, Michael Ramsey offered some wise and practical advice on how to grow in humility:

First, thank God, often and always… Thank God, carefully and wonderingly, for your continuing privileges and for every experience of his goodness. Thankfulness is a soil in which pride does not easily grow.

Secondly, take care about confession of your sins... Be sure to criticize yourself in God’s presence: That is your self-examination. And put yourself under the divine criticism: That is your confession.

Thirdly, be ready to accept humiliations. They can hurt terribly, but they help you to be humble. There can be the trivial humiliations. Accept them. There can be the bigger humiliations… All these can be so many chances to be a little nearer to our humble and crucified Lord…

Fourthly, do not worry about status… there is only one status that our Lord bids us be concerned with, and that is the status of of proximity to himself…

Fifthly, use your sense of humor. Laugh about things, laugh at the absurdities of life, laugh about yourself, and about your own absurdity. We are all of us infinitesimally small and ludicrous creatures within God’s universe. You have to be serious, but never be solemn, because if you are solemn about anything there is the risk of becoming solemn about yourself.

– Michael Ramsey, The Christian Priest Today, (London: SPCK, 1972), 79-81. Quoted in Pride, Humility, and God in the book Alive to God: Studies in Spirituality Presented to James Houston, p. 121.

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