Pride is a lack of humility. So, in a sense, maybe I do know something about humility in a back-handed way. Pride seems to me to be the result of my dependence on my own will, seeing myself as the center of everything, the place where I control my life. When faced with a choice where do I go to make a decision? Do I seek input from others? Do I seek guidance from God? I must say, all too often, my choice is based on my own inner thoughts and the result is one that favors my own self-gratification. I often feel trapped by the desires of my own being and the comforts offered by this world. I truly tend to seek pleasure and avoid pain. To give up my own pleasures and endure discomfort or pain for the benefit of others or my God is not an easy choice. To accept that I am not the king of my own world, that I do not control it, is difficult. But this is what humility calls me to accept.
Elder Marcaius helps us gain a proper perspective on this topic of humility. He says,
You should know by now that great storms of passion are allowed to assail us whenever we have been indulging pride, self-adulation, high opinions of our own intellectual powers; or when we have pandered to the vicious pleasure of humbling others, intentionally. The medicine is simple: humility, a sincere humbling of self. This alone can bring relief: through meekness––harbinger of peace.Humility is not difficult to understand. It is no more than accepting that I am in fact limited in my own ability to make rational choices on my own that are consistent with the God's commandments. I have no special possession of truth or what is best for me or others. When I can accept that I am a limited creature, that I owe my existence to an all powerful God, that I am created in His image, and I and everyone else are struggling with the same temptations and possessing to differing degrees pride, then maybe I will begin to walk a path toward humility.
In the end I know I will be forcefully humbled by death. Hopefully before this event I will come to terms with this virtue. Humility is the same as love for it is only with humility that I can truly love another.
Saint John Climacus says,
Love and humility form a holy pair; what the first builds, the second binds, thus preventing the building from falling asunder.Jesus gave us two commandments––to love God with our whole heart and to love others as ourselves. To follow as his disciple I have no choice but to learn about humility. Only with humility will I gain His grace which will empower me to overcome all earthly temptations as well as the sorrows of this worldly life. Knowing that I am not in control, in a strange way, leads me to humility, peace and love.
Lord Have Mercy.
Reference: Russian Letters of Spiritual Direction, pp 47-48