St. Anthony the Great, C.S. Lewis and Humility

It was said that Saint Anthony had a vision of the world full of snares and traps. In a loud voice he cried out, "Lord, who can overcome these snares and traps?" A gentle voice was heard saying, "The humble."

Humility is something that is at the heart of Christian spirituality and yet we are often unsure of what it looks like. There are times when we have false humility in which we make ourselves look lower for the purpose of baiting others to build us up. Like when someone gives you a complement and you say things like, "I am not that good." Then the person comes back and says with greater enthusiasm and more numerous words to how much they appreciate you. 

There are those who understand humility as when you are being humiliated. For instance it takes a humble person to sit on the chair and be "roasted". Giving people an opportunity to "knock you down a peg" in order to then to honor you is another version of false humility. Because ultimately the roast is esteeming the work or the person. 

C.S. Lewis said, "Humility is not thinking less of yourself but thinking of yourself less." 

This is why humility is at the heart of Christian spirituality. We are called children of God impressed with the divine spark of grace. We are not to think less of ourselves for we would be thinking less of the creator and the image that is in us. Rather we are to die to ourselves in order that another, Christ, may live in and through us. Humility is the practice of putting another (Christ, neighbor, enemy, etc.) as the center of our thoughts and actions.