Humility: the comprehensive labour of love that supports all the other virtues
The incontrovertible judgment of the Fathers regarding the practical manner in which to achieve this God-pleasing quality is- in their experience- bodily labour and self-knowledge, and these are things which are present in everyday life. In general, the narrow path of all-inclusive Christian morality leads to the fear of God and He then becomes a guide to that which constitutes ‘sentience in God’ and the great virtues, which are ‘not to think highly of yourself’, ‘to censure yourself’ and ‘to withstand all temptations’.
Apart from his other efforts, the Prophet David put forward his struggles as means of expiation, saying: ‘Look upon my humility and my effort and forgive all my sins’. And elsewhere he offers as a convincing example of his forgiveness that: ‘I was humbled and the Lord saved me’. Again, he reveals that the Lord, ‘gives grace to the humble’, in contrast, of course to the egotists. So, if, ‘God will not despise a humble and contrite heart’, this is known to us because our Fathers and, indeed, all of those in the whole of human history who have been granted some knowledge of God, have all tried to be humble more than anything else.
With the sense of human insignificance, since, according to the Lord, we can do nothing without His help, and with the awareness of our likeness to Christ through His grace, which we are granted by acting and thinking in a humble manner, let no-one absent themselves [from the struggle] by investigating, desiring and doing whatever leads to easy, or rather, free salvation, because they’ll hear in their ears the blessed and sweet voice of the Lord saying that He’ll come again to bring close to Him those who are worthy. He said ‘blessed are the poor in spirit’ (i.e. the humble), for theirs is the kingdom of heaven, which we all hope to gain. Amen
“Elder Joseph of Vatopaidi (+2009)”
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