Humility is the Shortest Path to Salvation

He who possesses humility emulates Christ Himself. He never strays, judges, or boasts. Never desires power. Shuns human honors. Engages not in vain disputes of this world! Speaks not arrogantly and always welcomes advice from others. Avoids fine clothing, presenting himself simply and humbly.

The one who patiently endures humiliation and belittlement gains greatly from it. Thus, do not sorrow but rejoice in your sufferings. Through this, you gain precious humility, which saves you. “I was brought low, and he helped me” (Psalm 116:6, KJV). This verse should always be in our minds.

Do not grieve when accused. Grief in such instances signifies vanity. Those wishing salvation should desire to be scorned, for scorn brings humility. And humility frees one from many temptations.

Never be jealous, envious, seek fame, or titles. Always aspire to live inconspicuously. It is in your favor that the world does not know you, for the world is deception. With its vain words and empty encouragements, it tempts and spiritually harms us.

The goal is to achieve humility. To be lower than all. To believe you do nothing worthy of your salvation but to pray to God for salvation through His mercy.

Humility, along with obedience and fasting, breeds the fear of God, and this fear of God is the beginning of true wisdom.

Do everything with humility, lest you suffer loss from your good deeds. Do not think that only those who labor the most receive their reward. Whoever tends to do good, while also being humble, even if unable to accomplish much or learn trades, is not hindered from being saved.

Humility is achieved through self-reproach, believing you inherently possess no good deed. Woe to him who deems his sins minor. Surely, he will fall into worse!

He who patiently bears accusations against himself with humility has neared perfection. Even Angels marvel at him, for no virtue is as challenging and grand as humility.

Poverty, distress, and disregard are the monk’s crowns. When a monk patiently endures insults, slanders, scorn, he easily frees himself from impure thoughts.

It is commendable to acknowledge your weakness before God. This is self-awareness. “I weep and am crushed,” says Saint Symeon the New Theologian, “when light shines upon me, and I see my poverty and recognize my state.” When someone realizes their spiritual poverty and understands their condition, oh then! Christ’s light shines in their heart, and they begin to weep (Upon saying this, the Elder was moved to tears).

If someone says, “You are selfish,” do not be distressed or saddened. Tell yourself, “Maybe I am and do not realize it!” On the other hand, we should not be dependent on others’ opinions. Each should look to their conscience and the words of experienced and wise friends, but above all, seek counsel from their spiritual father. With these reflections, align your spiritual journey.

You write that you are not succeeding in your struggle. You know the reason. Because you lack sufficient humility. You think you can achieve something by your efforts. Instead, if you humble yourself and say, “With the power of Jesus, the help of the Most Holy Theotokos, and the prayers of my Elder, I will achieve what I desire,” be assured you will succeed! Of course, I have no power to offer strong prayers, but when you humble yourself and say, “By the prayers of my Elder, I will do this,” then by your humility, God’s grace acts, and you will succeed!

God watches over the “contrite and humble spirit” (Isaiah 57:15, KJV), but to attain gentleness, peace, humility, effort is required. Yet, this effort is rewarding! To gain humility, in my understanding, does not require many prostrations or much else but primarily, your thought must descend lower and lower, to reach the level of the earth! Then you fear not falling, for you are low. And if you fall from a low place, you won’t be hurt.

In my view, though I neither read much nor do anything significant, humility is the shortest path to a man’s salvation. Abba Isaiah says, “Train your tongue to say simple, and humility will come to you.” Teach your tongue to say, “Forgive me,” even if not felt sincerely; gradually, you will become accustomed, not only to say but to feel it within!

The saints say that according to the goodwill with which you seek forgiveness, i.e., if you have humility, God will accordingly enlighten the other to achieve the desired reconciliation. For instance, when you humble yourself and internally admit, “I am at fault, but I do not realize it,” soon you will say, “Indeed, I am at fault.” And when you instill in your mind that you truly are at fault, the other’s disposition will change.

Persistently ask God to grant you the gift of internal self-reproach and humility. In your prayers, ask the Lord to let you see only your sins and pay no attention to the sins of others. “Grant me, Lord, to see my faults and not to judge my brother,” says Saint Ephrem the Syrian.

The humble consider themselves “lower than all.” Hence, they love all, forgive all, and above all, judge no one.