Praise and Humility

Annunciation by Master of the Life of the Virgin

Padre Quadrupani and his favorite spiritual guide, St. Francis de Sales, offered practical, feasible spiritual advice. They knew of what substance we are made and made their recommendations accordingly. One such case is this: we have a natural tendency to manifest the good in us. In the following, Padre Quadrupani shows how this is not necessarily opposed to humility.

“Praise is naturally more pleasing to us than censure. There is nothing sinful in this preference, for it springs from an instinct of our human nature of which we cannot entirely divest ourselves. Only the praise must be always referred to Him to whom it is due, that is to say, to God; for they are His gifts that are praised in us as we are but their bearers and custodians and shall one day have to render Him an account for them in accordance with their value.”

“The soul that is most humble will also have the greatest courage and the most generous confidence in God; the more it distrusts itself, the more it will trust in Him on whom it relies for all its strength, saying with Saint Paul: ‘I can do all things in Him who strengtheneth me’ (Phil 4:13).”

“Saint Thomas clearly proves that true Christian humility, far from debasing the soul, is the principle of everything that is really noble and generous. He who refuses the work to which God calls him because of the honor and eclat that accompany it, is not humble but mistrustful and pusillanimous. We shall find in obedience light to show us with certainty that to which we are called and to preserve us from the illusions of self-love and of our natural inclinations.”

“It is even good and sometimes necessary to make known the gifts we have received from God and the good works of which divine grace has made us the instruments, when this manifestation can conduce to the glory of His name, the welfare of the Church, or the edification of the faithful. It was for this threefold object that Saint Paul spoke of his apostolic labors and supernatural revelations.”

Quotations from Carlo Giuseppe Quadrupani, Light and Peace: Instructions for Devout Souls to Dispel Their Doubts and Allay Their Fears (St. Louis: B. Herder, 1898).

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