Category Archives: Humility

Reflections on Kneeling and Humility

“Our generation has lost the religious gesture of kneeling; we have become more a clapping generation. We seem to have compromised the virtue of humility with a culture of self-security and independence. If we dream of renewal, let us kneel again in adoration, in repentance and in service.”

Kneeling Adores
Bending the knee before the tabernacle in genuflection, kneeling down at the celebration of the Eucharist, kneeling down to adore the exposed Blessed Sacrament – these are little but sublime acts of adoration that we must preserve and protect.

Kneeling Obtains Mercy
It is easier to remember that we are sinners when we kneel. It is easier to share the same mercy kneeling down, not from a higher moral level but from our shared sinful condition. “The bending of the knee is a token of penitence and sorrow of a penitent heart.” (St John Cassian)

Kneeling Atones
Kneeling atones for the countless profane actions against the Eucharist. As we bow down and adore the Eucharist, we also beg for mercy for the sacrilege and desecration the Sacred Species are repeatedly subjected to in many communities. We seek pardon for liturgical experiments and abuses: the narcissism among ordained ministers seeking popularity rather than piety; for taking the Mass for granted; for the irreverent attire and the cold interior disposition when we attend Mass.

Kneeling Humbles
We cannot celebrate mercy without repentance. We kneel in humility and repentance especially in the Sacrament of Reconciliation where we kneel down to confess our sins and receive pardon.

Kneeling Renews
The family that prays together stays together.… Kneeling empowers families to stand up against the storms of life. Kneeling is strength.

[Taken from the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines Pastoral Exhortation entitled “Let Us Kneel Before The Lord Who Made Us” (Psalm 95:6)]


Wisdom from the Desert on Humility

If one sees a person puffed up by arrogance and pride because he has received grace and even if he should perform signs and should raise up the dead, if he, nevertheless, does not hold his soul as abject and humble and does not consider himself poor in spirit and an object of abhorrence, he is duped by the devil and is ignorant. Granted he has performed signs but he is not to be trusted.

For the sign of the Christian is this, that one is pleasing to God so as to seek to hide oneself from human eyes. And even if a person should possess the complete treasures of the king, he should hide them and say repeatedly: “The treasure is not mine, but another has given it to me as a charge. I am a beggar, and when it so pleases, he can claim it from me.”

If anyone should say, “I am rich. I have enough. I possess goods. There is nothing more I need.” Such a person is not a Christian but a vessel of deceit and of the devil, for the enjoyment of God is insatiable, and the more one tastes and eats, the more one hungers.

Persons like this (those who hunger for God) have an ardor and love towards God that nothing can restrain. And the more they apply themselves to the art of growing in perfection, the more they count themselves as poor, as those in great need, and possessing nothing.

This is why they say, “I am not worthy that the sun shines its rays on me.” This is the sign of the Christian, namely, this very humility.


Source: From an unknown desert monk of the 4th or 5th century once thought to be Marcarius – Spiritual Homily 15.37