Day 11 – HUMILTY and POVERTY
Humility and poverty are the foundation of Augustinian common life and spiritual life, and are so closely related that no one can be called a “poor man of God” as was Augustine, without being humble. By reason of poverty and humility we consider all of our possessions, both material and spiritual, as the possessions of all, for we do not hold them as personal property, but as given to us by God to be administered. We are all beggars before God. Therefore we make use of the goods of the earth as tools on our way toward our heavenly homeland.
In Augustine, humility is related to the truth and being so, holds an importance that is incomparable to other moral virtues. To Dioscurus, Augustine wrote: I wish you would submit with sincere piety to Him and not seek any other way to abiding truth but the one shown us by him who, being God, knows our weakness. This way consists, first, of humility, second, of humility, and third, of humility… It is not that there are no other precepts to be mentioned. But, unless humility precedes, accompanies, and follows whatever we do, unless it is a goal on which we keep our eye, a companion at our side, and a yoke upon our neck, we will find that we have done little good to rejoice in; pride will have bereft us of everything. For Augustine, it is important since it is the cure for pride, that vice which has introduced all disvalues. Within an Augustinian perspective, humility is seen as a moral value in at least two ways: (a) it is necessary for the Christian life (b) it is a sine qua non for the community life.