Today’s Gospel says, “Everyone that exalteth himself shall be humbled, and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.”
Pride, says St. Thomas, is a vice by which man seeks to exalt himself beyond right reason above what he is; it is based on error and illusion. On the contrary, humility is founded upon truth. It is a virtue which tempers and restrains the soul, so that it does not pretend to be more than it really is. The humble soul accepts with complete submission the actual station which falls to it, and which is that assigned to it by God the supreme and infallible Truth. Humility is the virtue which our Lord sets before us in today’s Gospel. “After he had healed the man with the dropsy,” says St. Ambrose, “Jesus gives a lesson in humility.”
Seeing how the Pharisees chose the best places, He wanted to make them understand the spiritual disease from which they were suffering and so to encourage them to seek its cure. For this purpose He first heals an unfortunate man swollen with sickness and then veiling the lesson under a parable, seeks to cure the spiritual inflation with which the guests before Him and the majority of men are only too much afflicted. The world is given over to all the boastfulness and infatuation of pride, while humility is the absolute condition of entrance into the kingdom of God.
Let us, therefore, cast ourselves at the feet of the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is our Father, too, so that from the boundless treasure of His divinity He may more and more send down upon us the Holy Ghost, whom He poured out on the Church at Pentecost and who unites us to our Lord by faith and love, that we may be filled with the fullness of God.
Source: Dom Gaspar Lefebvre, OSB, 1945, adapted and abridged.