In a world of fake news and moral relativism, more and more people are hungry for the truth, but don’t even know where to begin looking for it. Bishop Robert Barron, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, recently stopped by A Closer Look™ to discuss truth and the key to finding it. Bishop Barron said:
“Humility is recognized by all the spiritual masters as the great virtue. St. Bernard echoed Augustine when asked what are the three great things, and he said, ‘Humility, humility, humility.’ Because if pride is the first sin, the deadliest of the deadly sins, then the opposite of pride is the solution.
And what it means is an openness to things as they really are. Thomas Aquinas said, humilitas est veritas – humility is truth. It’s truth about the way things really are.
The trouble with pride is that we turn ourselves into God. Now, we might not do that explicitly, but we’re always doing it implicitly. Meaning, ‘I’m the center of the universe. The world revolves around me. I’m the most important reality in the world. And the key thing is making me happy, making me successful.’ But that’s out of step with reality.
The truth of things is that God is God, and we exist only the measure that we are being created by God. And when you get that – not as an intellectual proposition, but you get it in your bones – your whole life changes. Because then you say, as all the great masters do, ‘My life is not about me. It’s my life, but it’s not about me, it’s about God and God’s purposes, and God working through me.’
And that’s humility, it’s the truth about how things are. And that’s why it’s the king of the virtues, in many ways, because it counteracts pride.
Humility is getting deeply immersed in the truth of things, in reality, and not seeing the whole world through the lens of your own ego.
A lot of the spiritual life are disciplines around pride and humility, trying to break us out of one and break us into the other one. Think of this from the Lord Jesus Himself, Unless you change and become like a little child, you cannot enter the kingdom of heaven. Well, watch a little child. Before he or she has learned all of the social conventions, before he or she is obsessed with the ego and how they are performing, they are just lost in the simplest activity. It could be throwing a ball against a wall.
Watch a little child. They are in touch with reality in a joy producing way. That’s called the kingdom of heaven. So get rid of all this apparatus of pride and actually enter reality. Read everyone from Augustine to Bernard to John of the Cross to Thomas Merton and you’ll find exercises that are designed to do exactly that.
As we enter Lent, it is very important to not think of Lent as some grim season. But rather, it is a time for exercises that get us out of the stance of pride. We call them prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. All three of those things are meant to break pride and to get you in touch with reality. Humility is truth. That is a lot of the spiritual life.”
Listen to the full conversation below:
A Closer Look airs weekdays at 6:00 p.m. Eastern/3:00 p.m. Pacific on Relevant Radio®.