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Holy Humility is Complete Trust in God – Elder Porphyrios

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From the Elder Porphyrios, Wounded by Love.

Complete trust in God – that’s what holy humility is. Complete obedience to God, without protest, without reaction, even when some things seem difficult and unreasonable. Abandonment to the hands of God. The words we repeat during the Divine Liturgy say it all: ‘Let us commend our whole life to Christ our God.’ The secret prayer of the priest says the same thing: ‘We commend our whole life and hope to You, O loving Master, and we entreat You and beseech You and supplicate You…’ To you, O Lord, we leave everything. This is what trust in God is. This is holy humility. this is what transfigures a person and makes him a ‘God-man’.

The humble person is conscious of his inner state and, however unsightly it is, he does not lose his personality. He knows he is sinful and is grieved by the fact, but he does not despair and does not annihilate himself. The person who possesses holy humility does not speak at all, that is, he doesn’t react. He accepts to be criticized and rebuked by others, without getting angry and defending himself. He does not lose his equilibrium. The opposite happens with the egoist, the person who has a sense of inferiority. To begin with he seems humble, but if he is goaded a little, he immediately loses his calm and is irritated and upset.

The humble person believes that all things depend on Christ and that Christ gives His grace and in that way he makes progress. The person who possesses holy humility lives even now in the earthly uncreated Church. He always has the joy of Christ, even in the most displeasing circumstances…..

17 Responses to “Holy Humility is Complete Trust in God – Elder Porphyrios”

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  1. Never mind the quote, in today’s ecclesiastical climate, that picture is worth a thousand words.

  2. Canadian says:

    “To begin with he seems humble, but if he is goaded a little, he immediately loses his calm and is irritated and upset.”

    Father Stephen,
    Seems that you always have one more “heart seeking” arrow in your quiver for me. Thank you.

  3. Canadian,

    I think that it is a very accurate observation, particularly when our humility is coming from our “attempts” to be humble. The Elder notes that true humility comes from complete trust in God. Thus our focus should be on trust in God rather than trying to be humble. Humility is a “natural” result of complete trust in God.

    There is a little Catholic classic “Self-Abandonment to Divine Providence” that is a gem – a recent translation by the title of “The Sacrament of the Present Moment” is quite readable. I know of many Orthodox who have benefitted greatly from it in working towards learning to trust God.

  4. Theodora Elizabeth says:

    My favorite example of “humility” that is not to be emulated is that of Uriah Heep from Charles Dickens’ “Bleak House.”

  5. Theodora Elizabeth says:

    Oops – I meant “David Copperfield.”

  6. Hartmut says:

    Thank you father, this is so helpful in my situation.
    “Thus our focus should be on trust in God rather than trying to be humble.”
    Trying to be this and trying to be that – I know this. And then comes fighting, struggling and at last failing.
    To trust in God, to love God – that has to be the way, to let him do in me what I never can reach, instead of myself let him live and reign in me.
    May God have mercy and let me learn this lecture.

  7. AR says:

    Nope, you don’t want to be humble like Uriah Heep! (Shudders)

    If only I had Dicken’s ability to communicate a whole character in a name.

  8. seaton garrett says:

    Thanks for posting that quote. A couple of recent medical scares have me particularly sensitive to whether or not I really trust God.

    I’m adding you to my blogroll.

  9. john says:

    help me find my way to complete trust in God.

  10. Constance Moes says:

    Dear Father,

    Greet web site thanks! I have a techno-question. In the greek last
    edition of WOUNDED BY LOVE, there are 2 extra chapters, at the end,
    that the english doesn’t have. I am interested in whether anyone you know
    -or knows this website – know what the 2 extra chapters are about.

    I do not read greek but am working with others to try to translate the
    english book into the dutch language. We are almost done but now we
    hear about those 2 last chapters (in the greek). Can anyone enlighten
    us on what there are about? Thank you, from Holland, In Him, we pray.

  11. Constance,

    I do not know the answer – but perhaps one of our readers does. Anyone?

  12. Stephen says:

    I often wonder why the English speakers of the world appear to get cheated. I remember back when I used to listen to more independent music the music labels or distributors would put extra tracks on many of the albums exclusively for the Asian or Europe audience. One would have to pay double the price to buy the export for the one or two “so called” extra tracks. Sometimes the tracks would be released in the states as singles and what not, of course for more money. I wonder what the motivation is with translating books? I couldn’t take that much more time to translate. I think that a similar thing was done with one of the Philokalia texts because the translators thought the English speaking world would misunderstand. (at least I think I read that somewhere)?

  13. It may have something to do with our market. Americans don’t want books that are too long. :)

  14. Karen says:

    I just found out from my brother who was listening to the unabridged audio version on a road trip that the American edition of the Harry Potter series (of all things!) was dumbed down and abridged for the American readership as well. Now, I’m intensely curious to compare with the original British publications! Too bad the British market for Orthodox materials is comparatively small (or so I would guess). Perhaps they would do a better job with these types of translations.

  15. Barbara says:

    Fr. Stephen, thank you for recommending “The Sacrament of the Present Moment”. I ordered it and am in the process of reading it slowly. I am far from ‘Holy humility’ and the ability to surrender to each moment in trust, but I know that this is the only way to peace and unshakeable faith. Fr. Jean-Pierre De Caussade, author of “The Sacrament of the Present Moment”, calls it the “clear and shining way”.

  16. John Raffan says:

    Good Morning. I have just stumbled on this blog about Elder Porphyrios’s book Wounded by Love. I note there is a comment about two chapters missing from the English translation. I would like to point out that these two chapters were added to the Greek book in an edition that post-dated the English translation and that there was no attempt to cheat English readers of this material. These two chapters may, of course, be included in a future edition of the English translation. I do not think however that is wise to constantly change the content of a book that has already been published and purchased by a considerable number of people. Perhaps it would be more appropriate for additional material of this sort to be made available on the internet.
    With best wishes
    John Raffan

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