On Humility


by Friar Joseph Augustine, AIHM

With regard to humility I am thinking of an experience when a few years back, a dear, dear friend and I parted ways with regard to the continuing formation of our community. I could not reconcile continuing in the Roman tradition and he was not yet ready to give up on it. Our parting was very difficult for him and hurt him greatly. My abruptness with my decision was part of the hurt.

Then a little more than a year later, after not communicating, he showed up at my mother’s funeral, supporting, loving, and caring. I was humbled at the reconciliation I experienced. I was humbled that our hurt could be traversed and overcome by love, a love that had to be more powerful than our ego, a love that went beyond our own human limitations and hurts.

That’s GRACE. When confronted with it, one has to feel humbled that something is at work bigger than ourselves, but a vital part of ourselves that makes us new and stronger. As my spiritual director once told me, there is only a slight difference in the spelling of “mistake” and “mystic” and true humility helps us see the difference.

Those without humility only see the mistakes of others, and those wrapped in false humility can never see in themselves the mystic.