Mother Teresa’s 15 Tips to Help You Become More Humble

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Mother Teresa and Pope John Paul II on May 2, 1992.

Mother Teresa and Pope John Paul II on May 2, 1992. (L’Osservatore Romano photo)BLOGS |  SEP. 5, 2019Mother Teresa’s 15 Tips to Help You Become More HumbleThe world does not value or understand the power of humility but we do, because it was what Jesus used to save us.Patti Armstrong

Good self-esteem is confidence in one’s worth or abilities. Think about Mother Teresa. That little nun had good self-esteem.  She even dared to speak against abortion at the National Prayer Breakfast in 1993 before her invited hosts President Bill Clinton, and Vice President Al Gore, and their spouses.  That’s guts. That’s self-confidence. And that’s humility. 

All the saints understood that humility is the way to nail down a good self-esteem by depending on God rather than oneself.  It’s the understanding that everything comes from God and that God is everything.

Mother Teresa called humility the mother of all virtues.  She said: “If you are humble nothing will touch you, neither praise nor disgrace, because you know what you are. If you are blamed you will not be discouraged. If they call you a saint you will not put yourself on a pedestal.”

3 Myths About Humility

Humility, however, is often misunderstood.  Some think it is synonymous with self-deprecation.  In a recent Sunday homily, Fr. Jared Johnson, associate pastor of Cathedral of the Holy Spirit in Bismarck identified three myths about humility.

Myth #1. The humble souls lacks confidence. “The most humble people out there are some of the most confident and sometimes some of the most prideful people are the most insecure,” he said. “ Humble souls know their life is dependent on God and know what to value—things lasting not passing. They values the Lord over anything else

Myth #2. Humility is not attractive. “True humility is attractive,” he explained. “It is the humble person who listens and cares about others as opposed to the one focused on their self and trying to look good.”

Myth #3. Humble people want to be recognized as humble. Father Johnson explained that wanting to look humble is false humility. In reality, he said they simply want to do something because it is right and they are not looking for praise.

“Our greatest block to growing closer to God is when we rely more on us than on him,” Father Johnson said. By putting on the virtue of humility, he explained that we grow more confident and allow ourselves to grow closer to God.  “When we look at a crucifix, we see a man who is humble and who is not about himself.  We see a man who is for others.  May we imitate that humility so that we can experience God in his fullness.”

Ways to Become Humble

Mother Teresa’s example proves all three of Fr. Johnson’s points.  While she was head of the Missionaries of Charity, Mother Teresa kept a list of ways to cultivate humility for the sisters in her care.

  1. Speak as little as possible about yourself.
  2. Keep busy with your own affairs and not those of others.
  3. Avoid curiosity (she is referring to wanting to know things that should not concern you.)
  4. Do not interfere in the affairs of others.
  5.  Accept small irritations with good humor.
  6.  Do not dwell on the faults of others.
  7. Accept censures even if unmerited.
  8. Give in to the will of others.
  9. Accept insults and injuries.
  10. Accept contempt, being forgotten and disregarded.
  11. Be courteous and delicate even when provoked by someone.
  12. Do not seek to be admired and loved.
  13. Do not protect yourself behind your own dignity.
  14. Give in, in discussions, even when you are right.
  15. Choose always the more difficult task.

The Power of Humility

“It was pride that changed angels into devils; it is humility that makes men as angels.” —Saint Augustine

The devil preferred to leave Heaven for eternity in Hell rather than to humble himself before his creator.  And humility would have protected Adam and Eve from thinking they could disobey God and become like him.

Yet through our humility and thus obedience to God, the devil is defeated.  St. John Vianney, the Curé of Ars, who was often harassed by the devil, related a conversation with him.  The devil said: “I can do everything you do, I can also do your penances, I can imitate you in everything. There is one thing, however, that I cannot do, I cannot imitate you in humility. »



« That is why I defeat you,” St. John Vianney responded.

Humility seems to be a contradiction, and yet, Jesus was meek and humble of heart (Matthew 11:29).  “He emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.” (Philippians 2:7)

The world does not value or understand the power of humility but we do, because it was what Jesus used to save us.  “Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:28)

This article originally appeared Nov. 21, 2016, at the Register.CommentsPosted by Ellie on Saturday, Sep, 7, 2019 4:39 PM (EDT):

Great article – I’ll use it in our RCIA program!

Steve, many people felt so close to Mother Teresa that she’s still referred to in their everyday language as “Mother”.  They know she’s a canonized saint, but in her case I’ve found it to be a term of endearment, with no belittling intended.Posted by Steve on Sunday, Dec, 4, 2016 11:33 PM (EDT):

you have a huge typo here; she is SAINT Mother TeresaPosted by Leonor Z.Ricardo on Sunday, Dec, 4, 2016 5:27 AM (EDT):

The words of the Saint, indeed. In God’s Grace, one may attain them. Forgive me Lord, for the times I was not humble as You are. Amen.Posted by Peter Aiello on Saturday, Nov, 26, 2016 3:10 PM (EDT):

God is not everything. That is pantheism. If God was everything, then we could worship Him in everything, which would be idolatry.
The 15 tips from Mother Teresa are a horizontal humility towards ourselves and others. There is also the single vertical humility toward Christ. This is the one that facilitates the others; but it is the one that is generally ignored. The horizontal does not cultivate the vertical; the vertical generates the horizontal, which is the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).
I use 1Peter 5:5-7 as a definition of vertical humility: “Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you”. This brings us Christ’s rest.Posted by Ronk on Friday, Nov, 25, 2016 3:05 AM (EDT):

Maybe our “humble” Pope should read this.Posted by Millie Coombes on Wednesday, Nov, 23, 2016 10:08 AM (EDT):

Thank you, Patti Armstrong! 
    This article on humility was well done!  Really opened my eyes to how much I need to strive to try to capture some of it!
      Very helpful and an eye-opener.  “Traffic till I come…”  I have a long way to go….
      Keep ‘me coming…
            Gratefully yours,
                MilliePosted by tom on Tuesday, Nov, 22, 2016 5:52 PM (EDT):

Pride has always been and will probably always be the source of all my troubles.  I used to call it righteous anger, now I understand it as self-righteous foolishness.  May God help me!  St. Teresa on the other hand always exhibited unbelievable humility.  I still remember one time when I tried to kiss her cheek, she simply bowed her head to communicate that was not her will.  May God bless the Missionaries of Charity, who miss her earthly guidance immensely.Posted by mrscracker on Monday, Nov, 21, 2016 5:57 PM (EDT):

Lovely article. Thank you

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