Humility of Heart – Book Review

Humility of Heart

The book is divided into six sections: Thoughts and Sentiments, Practical Examen on the Virtue of Humility, Examen on Humility towards God, Examen on Humility towards our Neighbour, Examen on Humility towards Oneself, and Moral Doctrine. The book also has a beautiful prayer for obtaining humility.

My thoughts are that this book would be good to aid with meditations.  It would be good as an early morning book to put a few humble thoughts in the mind at the start of each day, either in front of a holy image or even over your morning coffee.  It would also be good as a last thing at night book to have some holy thoughts while you drift into slumberland.

We know that we are all born proud since the sin of Adam, so humility is a virtue that we need to work on acquiring and maintaining all throughout our lives. This book helps with that by breaking things down into the nitty-gritty, giving practical advice, and questions we can ask ourselves to test our own humility.  We may find specific areas where our pride was thriving that we had not noticed before.

The book explains that humility is the very foundation of all the other virtues.  It is all very easy to say “be humble,” but if we don’t know in what way we can improve in this regard it makes the advice useless.  You may as well say “build a house,” but unless there is a plan and some materials, it will not happen.  Many Catholics would like to have a priest at hand to give advice to them as to how to grow in virtue.  Here is that priest, in a book.  In these days of few and busy clergy these books need to be utilised to their full potential!

If we claim ignorance of the glaring holes in the fabric of our virtue on judgment day, will it be our fault for spending too much time on worldly causes when we could instead have had this priestly spiritual advice for virtually nothing? Our proud soul would then remain as it is forever and never be changed.

Friends, waste no time in using these means available to us today.

Here is a little excerpt from the book from the Chapter on Thoughts and Sentiments on Humility:

Read the lives of the saints, and consider whose life your own most resembles: what degree of sanctity do you possess?  If you were to die at this moment, to what part of Paradise would you think yourself destined? Perhaps among the innocents?  No one is innocent who has committed even one mortal sin; and you – have you still in your soul your baptismal innocence? Perhaps, therefore, amongst the penitents?  But where is your penitence when, far from seeking self-mortification, you seek in all things to please yourself?  Do you think that you deserve to be numbered amongst the martyrs?  I will not speak of the shedding of blood; but where is even your patience to suffer only the slightest trouble or adversity in this miserable life?  Do you judge yourself worthy to be ranked with the virgins?  But are you pure in body and mind?  St Anthony, the abbot, after having laboured many years to perfect himself in holiness by imitating the virtues of the most illustrious anchorites, found much to humble himself when he heard of St Paul, the first hermit, and felt that in comparison with this holy man he himself had nothing of the religious left in him.  O my soul, come to, and compare thyself with the saints.  “Call to remembrance of the works of the fathers which they have done in their generations,” and thou wilt find innumerable occasions for humbling thyself in perceiving how far thou art from holiness.  It is all very well to say: I do nothing wrong.  To be saved it is not enough not to do evil, but one must also do good. “Avoid evil and do good.” It is not enough not to be a sinner by profession, but it is necessary to be holy by profession.  “Follow holiness, without which no man shall see God.”


Philomena is a Catholic mother of four who lives in Brisbane, Australia.

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