Frequent Acts of Humility: an Anti-Pride Medicine


Objective Truth Series – reflections article #10

In the last reflection we considered how important it is to look for and to want to do God’s Will and not our own.  We saw how seeking God’s Will helps us avoid frustration and discouragement.  We again saw the value of agere contra, as counterattacks to combat the devil.  Simply saying little quotes in one’s mind can have a tremendous impact on one’s attitude as well as help to foster acquired virtue.[1]  Because virtue is the repeated act of doing good and needs to be practiced over time, it is very important to repeat the action for any particular virtue sought.

Furthermore, Our Lord said, “He who exalts himself will be humbled and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”  It follows that Our Lord is encouraging us to make acts of humility often.  Thus if we repeat humbling thoughts and/or prayers, even small ejaculations frequently, we will get into the habit of thinking and putting ourselves in our proper place.

Since God is the Sculptor of souls, He chooses a soul; He loves that soul and then makes the soul worthy of His Love.  If we make acts of humility and self-abnegation, then God won’t chisel us so hard.  In fact, our frequent acts of humility which are inspired by Him, are in a sense, our cooperating with the Divine Sculptor.  Thence, as a consequence, our wills become more and more submissive to God’s Will.

We can make little acts of humility anywhere and just about any time. Some examples of these little acts are:

 “My life is in Thy Hands, O Lord.”

“Thy Will be done, O Lord, not my will.”

“O God, be merciful to me, a sinner” (500 days indulgence)

“Without Thee, Lord, I can do nothing.”

“Jesus, Meek and humble of heart, make my heart like unto Thine.”

Of course, these acts of the will and acts of self-abnegation are very helpful if they pertain to our particular faults.  For example, if one’s particular fault is pride in the form of impatience, one could say things like:

“Lord, You know how frail I am and how impatient I get, please help me patiently accept Thy Will”; or

“Help me to seek Thy Will in all the circumstances that come to me.”

Or one could use an even harder-hitting abnegation such as:

“Lord, You know how I ridiculous I am when I get upset at the least thing that conveniences me; please help me let go of my irritable will and cheerfully accept every circumstance that comes to me.”

These acts of humility remind us that we are worthless compared to God.  They keep us more recollected and living in the Presence of God.  When we keep in mind that, “God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble” (St. James, 4:6), these acts will help us persevere and keep in Divine friendship.  All in all, by saying frequent acts of humility, we can fight pride and foster the virtue of humility.  

These acts then become like our daily doses of anti-pride medicine.  This anti-pride medicine is something we should be glad to self-administer very often, knowing that this medicine helps our souls so much and by this medicine, we will be pleasing God.  With all these preventative measures against pride in mind, our hearts could gladly praise God in words like these:

Through humble acts, though they be small,

One is reminded, he can fall,

No one is safe and none secure,

‘Cause for we humans, pride’s a lure.


By simple quotes and simple prayers,

Help us not be, caught unawares,

Pride is subtle, and Satan sly,

Can’t be seen, with the naked eye.


‘Tis why we need, to keep alert,

And very often, to assert,

Our wretchedness, how we are low,

And by this means, virtue can grow.


These acts do build, virtue’s muscle,

Can ev’n be said, mid daily bustle,

They give a boost, to one’s morale,

And ‘round passions, keep a corral.


So little by little, God’s Plan,

Has a striking effect, on man,

God’s chisel works, as blow by blow,

One’s littleness, one comes to know.


So he wants not, to self-exalt,

And only wants, to see his fault,

Let only God, not man be praised,

Let man by God, alone be raised.


So with joy, let lowly acts come,

And ev’ry day, try to make some,

With medicine, doses ‘gainst pride,

We’ll find ourselves, e’er on God’s side.

[1]           There are two types of each moral virtue: 1) an acquired virtue; and 2) an infused virtue.  The acquired moral virtues come from repeated acts, e.g., repeated acts of temperance cause the acquired virtue of temperance.  By contrast, God gives us infused moral virtues (e.g., the infused virtue of temperance) along with sanctifying grace.