An excerpt from HUMILITY OF HEART, from the Italian of Fr Cajetan Mary da Bergamo

135. As to certain exterior actions, indifferent in themselves, but which if done with a good intention can tend to make us virtuous, the one necessary thing is to have a care that they be performed with humility, as Christ teaches us: “I will be little in my own eyes.”1 This is what each of us should say to himself, with holy King David, and it helps us greatly to form this good habit of humility towards ourselves, in order that we may also be humble to others.

This is why I wish you to apply yourself with all diligence to this examen. What conception and esteem have you of the virtue of humility? Do you really believe that humility of heart is necessary for your eternal salvation? You know that it is necessary to believe firmly in the mystery of the Holy Trinity, and that whoever doubts it is a heretic; but you must know that it is also necessary to believe with equal firmness the doctrine of humility taught by Jesus Christ in His gospel, because we cannot affirm that in the gospel one doctrine is more true than another, nor that one must believe one more than another, because they all proceed equally from the mouth of Jesus Christ, who is the very Truth.

If therefore you believe in this dogma of humility, how do you apply it to yourself, and what measures do you take in order to be humble? Do you ask it of God? Do you have recourse to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin and of the saints? Do you make yourself familiar with those thoughts which are most efficacious to teach you this humility—the thoughts of death, judgement, hell, paradise and eternity, the grievousness of sin and, above all, the Passion of Jesus Christ?

I am perfectly certain that you will never attain to this humility if you neglect these means which are the most appropriate by which to acquire it; and if you have not been humble of heart, how can you ever justify yourself before the tribunal of God?

Impress upon your mind this beautiful passage which St Augustine left to his friend Dioscurus: “Do not depart, O Dioscurus, from the royal way of humility which was taught by Christ; although many other virtues are commanded by the Christian religion, study to give humility the highest place, because alI virtues are acquired and maintained by humility, and without humility they vanish away.”2

1 2 Kings vi, 22.
2 “Jesu Christi, oro te, mi Dioscure, ut tota pietate subdas velim, nec aliam tibi ad capessendam veritatem viam munias quam quæ illo munfta est: ea est autem humilitas” (Epist. Cxiii).