Book Access - "Humility" Ch. 7 of "Virtue Stands in the Middle" Dr. Gustafson

Chapter 7 - Humility

Dr. Christopher Gustafson, STD is a Catholic theologian in the United States. GPQ did an interview with him in January of 2022 on his upcoming book, Virtue Stands in the Middle, which you can access here. He has graciously offered to share parts of his upcoming book on virtue. The work not only delves in Catholic tradition and teaching on virtue and vice, but offers access to many images of the symbolism and iconographic tradition of the Seven Lady Virtues. Below is access to chapter seven.

Humility is the virtue by means of which one moderates one’s ego. It is a crucial virtue addressed in the first beatitude: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3). Lowliness is a synonym for humility. Meekness and modesty are also frequently employed as synonyms, but in reality these are different virtues. In a systematic exposition of the virtues, humility comes toward the end. It is connected with temperance. Why do we address humility here first? While it is not the greatest virtue (charity is the greatest), the saints all agree that humility is the gateway to holiness. Just as pride is that sin by which our first parents fell from their original dignity, so humility is the virtue by means of which we regain that dignity. St. Pio of Pietrelcina compares the pursuit of holiness with a building: Humility and charity are the main supports of the whole vast building and all the other virtues depend on them. One makes up the foundation; the other, the roof of the building, the sturdiness of which depends on both. If the heart constantly dedicates itself to the practice of these two virtues, it will have no difficulty with all the others. Above, we see a statue of Lady Humility. Her eyes are cast down to the earth in a humble manner. With her right foot, she treads upon earthly glory symbolized by a crown. Humility desires only God’s greater glory and has contempt for earthly glory. In her left hand, Lady Humility holds a rubber ball.