Blessed are those who manage to imitate the humble earth, which, while it is stepped on by everyone, lifts everyone with its love and nurtures them with affection like a good mother, which has also provided the material for our flesh. It accepts with joy anything we throw away, good fruits as well as dirty trash, converts them quietly into vitamins and, with its fruits, offers them back plentifully to both good and evil people, without discrimination.
The humble person, as is manifest, is the strongest in the world because he is always triumphant, but also because he bears other people’s loads with an untroubled conscience. Although he lives scorned and unjustly treated due to the errors of others that he assumes out of love, internally he feels the greatest joy in the world, for he has disregard for this vain world. Insults, injustices, etc. are the best lancets for those who are at fault, because old wounds are thus cleansed. For those who are not at fault, however, they are like the executioner’s knives; people who joyfully accept them for the love of Christ are considered martyrs.
Adults who do not accept insults and biting criticism, that they might be healed or receive a reward (when not at fault), are more foolish than little children who don’t want to even hear about the doctor, for fear of the injection (not wanting to be pierced by the needle). Hence, they continually suffer from a cough and fever. We ought to have more gratitude to those who have pricked us and brought out the thorns of our soul than to those who would excavate our field for free and reveal to us an unknown hidden treasure.
It profits nothing for someone to scrape his knees with countless prostrations, if he does not, at the same time, rub his face with humility (the internal repentance). He who seeks humility from God but does not accept the person that God sends him so as to humble him, doesn’t know what he is asking for, for virtues are not purchased like groceries (as many kilos as we want). Rather, God sends us people for us to be tested, to exert ourselves, acquire virtues, and be crowned.
He who humbly prostrates himself and accepts blows from other people, removes his own tumours, becomes beautified spiritually as an angel, and thus fits through the narrow gate of Paradise.
Blessed is the man who has removed his tumours and walks on the difficult way of the Lord with others’ burdens (slander, etc.), thus allowing them to freely weave imperishable crowns for him with their accusations. This reveals genuine humility, which does not lake into account what people say, but what God will say on the Day of Judgement.
He who speaks rationally to a suspicious, accusing man or to a narrow-minded man and expects to find understanding, reveals that he himself is unwell, for he who is ill-mannered is worse off than he who is mindless, for his mind is darkened by wickedness and egotism.
However, those who have humility possess kindness and divine enlightenment as well and never stumble on their spiritual journey because of the obstacles of the devil.
More often than not, we ourselves create most temptations when we put our ego within our collaborations with others, that is, when we wish to exalt ourselves. No one climbs to Heaven through worldly ascent, but through spiritual descent. He who walks lowly always walks with surety and never falls.
He who does not seek counsel on his spiritual journey, confuses the routes, becomes exhausted, and is delayed. If he does not humble himself and solicit counsel, even if at a later stage, he will hardly reach his destination. Those who take counsel, however, walk tirelessly, with surety, and are covered by the Grace of God and are enlightened, inasmuch as they have been humbled.
Those who move about simply, with good thoughts, and reveal all of their thoughts and, from much humility, believe that they possess nothing good, even while struggling with great philotimo, conceal within themselves the greatest spiritual treasure. However, neither they nor other people are aware of it, and thus, they themselves do not waste it and the others do not steal it. When one humbles himself before a very humble and sensitive person, he is greatly benefited. Whereas, if he humbles himself—asks for advice or reveals his shortcomings—before someone who disregards humity, he makes him more arrogant and insolent.
He who lacks humility and good thoughts is full of doubts and questions. Since he will be constantly perplexed, in the beginning he has need of an Elder with great patience to constantly provide him with explanations until his mind and heart are cleaned so he can see clearly.
As the humble and kind-hearted man has purity and internal as well as external serenity, he also has spiritual depth, perceives profoundly the divine meanings, and is greatly benefited, and his faith increases even more, for he lives the mysteries of God.
He who is proud, apart from being darkened, is always unsettled inwardly as well outwardly. Due to the flightiness of his egotism, he always stands on the surface of things and cannot proceed to the depths, where the divine pearls are found, so as to be spiritually enriched.
—Elder Paisios of Mount Athos