St. Silvanus the Athonite on Humility

St. Silouan the Athonite

St. Silouan the Athonite

Enlightened by baptism, people believe in God. But there are some who even know Him. To believe in God is good but it is more blessed to know God. Nevertheless, those who believe are bless, too, as the Lord said to Thomas, one of the twelve: ‘Because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.’

If we were humble the Lord in His love would show us all things, would reveal to us all mysteries, but our trouble is that we are not humble. We puff ourselves up and boast over trifles, and so make both ourselves and others unhappy.

The Lord, though He is merciful, oppresses the soul with hunger on account of her pride, and withholds grace from her until she has learned humility. I was perishing from my sins, and would long ago have been in hell, had not the Lord and His most holy and blessed Mother taken pity on me. O, her quiet, gentle voice! A voice from heaven the like of which we shall never hear on earth! And so now in tears I write of the Lord of Mercy, as He were my own Father. It is sweet for the soul to be with the Lord: Adam tasted the sweetness of this bliss in paradise when he saw the Lord with open eyes, and we feel in our souls that He is with us according to His promise: ‘Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.’

The Lord is with us. What more could we desire? The Lord created man that we might live and bask in Him for ever – that we might be with Him and in Him. And the Lord desires to be with us Himself, and in us. The Lord is our joy and gladness, and when pride causes us to withdraw from Him, it means that of our own accord we deliver ourselves up to suffering. Anguish of heart, dejection and evil thoughts lacerate us….

The proud man fears obloquy, while the humble man cares nothing. He who has acquired Christ-like humility will ever upbraid himself, and it rejoices him to be abused, and grieves him to be acclaimed. but this humility is still only elementary – when the soul comes to know the Lord in the Holy Spirit, how humble and meek He is, she sees herself as the worst of all sinners, and is happy to sit in shabby raiment in the ashes like Job, while she beholds other men in the Holy Spirit shining in the likeness of Christ.

May the Merciful Lord give all men to savor Christ’s humility which passes description. The soul will then know no further desire but will live for ever in humility, love and lowliness.

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2 Responses to “St. Silvanus the Athonite on Humility”


  1. 1 marshmk February 14, 2009 at 2:37 pm

    I submitted too soon and without proofreading. I apologize.

    Thank you for these good words. I am reminded that much of life’s difficulty I bring on myself. “The Lord is with us. What more could we desire?” God himself is the answer to every prayer and our heart’s deepest desire. Thank you also for adding me to your blogroll. Peace be with you. Mike

  2. 2 Mary February 14, 2009 at 5:26 pm

    Hi Mr. Marsh!
    I am happy that you liked this post. Its true, much of life’s problems are caused by ourselves, and we don’t even know it. I was totally oblivious to this until one Priest I know told me, “Our difficulties are caused by our own pride!”.

    Oh, and thank YOU for adding me to your blogroll.:)

    Maria


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