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Saturday, November 15, 2008

Humility and Self Knowledge

Why is self-knowledge and knowledge of God so important?
It produces humility, which John of the Cross as well as countless other saints tells us is foundational to making progress in the spiritual life.

"While we are on this earth nothing is more important to us than humility....In my opinion we shall never completely know ourselves if we don't strive to know God. By gazing at His grandeur, we get in touch with our own lowliness; by looking at His purity, we shall see our own filth; by pondering His humility, we shall see how far we are from being humble."

Saint John of the Cross


Such painful awareness of one's sin easily tempts one to despair, discouragement, and deep "depression"; thinking reform is hopeless, one may "surrender irrevocably to the world."

Bernard of Clairvaux calls this despair the greatest evil of all, and insists that God's mercy is always available whenever a sinner turns to him.

Saint Bernard of Clairvaux

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