ST AUGUSTINE - (354 – 430)

   Grasp the truth of God by using the way he himself provides, since he sees the weakness of our footsteps. That way consists first, of humility, second, of humility, and third, of humility. Unless humility precede, accompany, and follow up all the good we accomplish, unless we keep our eyes fixed on it, pride will snatch everything right out of our hands. (Letter 118, 22)


My ambition as a youth was to apply to the study of the Holy Scriptures all the refinement of dialectics. I did so, but without the humility of the true searcher. I was supposed to knock at the door so that it would open for me. Instead I was pushing it closed, trying to understand in pride what is only learned in humility. However, the all-merciful Lord lifted me up and kept me safe. (Sermon 51, 6)


A beggar, lying on the bare ground and trembling from cold, falls asleep and dreams of treasures; in his dream he rejoices and grows arrogant, and will not even spare a glance for his own father who is clothed in rags. As long as he has not awakened he is rich; but the greater the empty joy he experiences in sleep, the more, when he awakens, will he suffer from reality. (Sermon 345, 1)


Why are you proud? God became humble for your sake! Perhaps you would be ashamed to imitate a humble man; then at least imitate a humble God.  The Son of God came as a man and became humble. Your whole humility consists in knowing yourself. Pride does its own will; humility does the will of God. (Sermon on John 25, 16)


John the Baptist was regarded by some people as the Messiah but he told them: "I am not the one whom you think." He refused to accept the error of someone in order to derive glory from it. John admitted what he was, declared what he was not, and humbled himself. He clearly recognised where his salvation came from, for he understood that he was the lamp, and he feared being extinguished by pride. (Sermon 293, 4)   


In their many different idioms the classical spiritual writers have attempted to throw light on the eternal question of union with God. 
Every month we give you a brief passage from a spiritual classic.