The truly humble man tries to conceal himself: does not seek the praise of men. He does his work in a quiet way, without show or ostentation, realising fully well that by himself he can achieve nothing.
It was Swami Vivekananda, who said, “With God; you can cross over the seas. Without God, you cannot go over the threshold!” All credit belongs to the Lord. “I am only the vessel,” said Ernst Toller, “in which the power of life work, and create; and I dare not but be humble at the little I can manage to let come through.” As an instrument of God, the humble man works in this world of suffering and pain.
And in his heart is the prayer of St. Francis: “Lord, make me an instrument of Thy Peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy!”
“O Lord, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console; to be understood, as to understand; to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; it is in dying that we are born to eternal life!”
Humility includes forgiveness
The man of true humility is a man of forgiveness. If someone has injured or hurt him, he forgives the offender even before forgiveness is asked.
Abu Usman was walking on the street one day when someone threw ashes from the balcony of a house. The ashes fell on the head of the man of God. His companions felt infuriated and were about to abuse the offender when Abu Usman said to them, “Keep your peace, my friends. Let us thank the Lord that one who merits fire has been let off with ashes.” Abu Usman was a saint of the “little way”.
A seeker after God had been insulted by another, and his heart burnt with the thought of revenge. He came to a holy man and told him what had taken place, saying, “I shall make that fellow pay for what he has done!”
The holy man advised him to be at peace and turn the entire thing over to God. “No,” said the seeker, “I am going to get even with that wretch!” The holy man, immediately, stood up and, with folded hands, offered the following prayer to God: “O God, I find that Thou art no longer necessary to us now, as this brother says, he will not leave things in Thy Hands, but will seek his own revenge!”When the seeker listened to this prayer, he realised his folly and promised to make peace with his brother.
The man of humility never thinks of avenging himself. He forgives the wrongs that have been done to him and prays for the wrong-doers as in the immortal words of Blessed Jesus, “Father! Forgive them, for they know not what they do!”
Humility excludes being judgemental
The man of humility—the man who aspires to walk the “little way”—does not watch the sins of others. Therefore, he judges no one.
Once a holy man was invited to attend a ‘Council of Elders’, which had met to decide upon the punishment to be given to a wrong-doer. The holy man was reluctant to join the ‘Council’.
The President of the ‘Council’ sent him a message, saying: “We all are waiting for you. Do kindly come.” So, the holy man went carrying behind him a basket full of holes, filled with sand.
“What is this you are carrying?” the elders asked him. “Like this sand, my sins are running out behind me. I do not see them: and today I come to judge the sins of another,” he replied.The words touched the hearts of the Elders. And the wrong-doer was pardoned.