Thursday, April 26, 2007

The Humble are able to Listen and Learn

more from Fr. Dubay...
The humble person is open to being corrected, whereas the arrogant is clearly closed to it. Proud people are supremely confident in their own opinions and insights. No one can admonish them successfully: not a peer, not a local superior, not even the pope himself. They know - and that is the end of the matter. Filled as they are with their own views, the arrogant lack the capacity to see another view.
The humble listen to their brothers and sisters because they assume they have something to learn. They are open to correction, and they become wiser through it.
It is a chilling experience to meet face to face with a person so supremely sure of his inner light and his interpretation of the Bible that he rejects not only what you say but also what exegetes and theologians and saints say.


Anonymous said...

I must add something here - two thoughts which run in my mind every time I hear that word "humble".

The first is its striking coordination with another word in the great "Canticle of the Creatures" by St. Francis, which says something like this:

"Blessed are you o Lord for our sister water, who is humble and useful..."

Water, as even the youngest experimenter and the wisest hydraulics expert will know, is humble because it seeks the lowest place... (hee hee) but is water humble therefore useful, or useful, therefore humble?

Yes, and powerful and deep.

The second is the vast energy our Uncle Chesterton spends on the topic of pride (and hence humility) - as early as his 1905 quip in Heretics: "the Roman Catholic Church, as I say, has done her best work in singling out, is the conception of the sinfulness of pride." [CW1:107] and continuing to the profoundly important "If I Only Had One Sermon to Preach" in his The Common Man:

"when we speak of somebody being "proud of" something, as of a man being proud of his wife or a people proud of its heroes, we really mean something that is the very opposite of pride. For it implies that the man thinks that something outside himself is needed to give him great glory; and such a glory is really acknowledged as a gift." [253]

and this fundamental definition:

"Pride consists in a man making his personality the only test, instead of making the truth the test. It is not pride to wish to do well, or even to look well, according to a real test. It is pride to think that a thing looks ill, because it does not look like something characteristic of oneself." [254]

And it is beyond argument, and borne out by countless scientists (at least those which bothered to write about it) that humility is the absolutely essential quality one must have if one is to learn anything about the universe.

Again it comes back to Aquinas and his hymns for Corpus Christi - for this is the "real test":

"Will you also go away?"
"Lord, to whom shall we go?"

Thanks for an inspiring lunch break!

--Dr. Thursday

Love2Learn Mom said...

Marvelous thoughts and quotes. Thank you!