Pride depends on being acutely aware of how I am being perceived. I cannot have pride in an act or an ability unless I show it off.  If my self-worth lies in impressing others, when left alone, I despair, forgetting my true value in God’s eyes. The worst thing about pride is that it weighs “heavy burdens” on others; it leaves those closest to us as collateral damage, weighed down by the heavy costs in our fight to out-perform our peers.

Like a child lying on the hardwood floor carefully coloring a picture, singing a made-up song, humility, on the other hand, is not worried about what others think.  Humility exists in a state of blissful disinterestedness, doing the act for its own sake, not for the perception of it.  Lest we forget that humility is a grace only given by God (and often at the times we least desire it) we should remember the humorous words of Golda Meir, the fourth Prime Minister of Israel: “Don’t be so humble; you’re not that great.”

Lord, help me to accept the little humiliations that come with this day.

Lord, what good deed do you want me to do today for its own sake, even if that means doing it in secret?

—Cyril Pinchak, S.J. is a Jesuit scholastic teaching English at University of Detroit Jesuit High School and Academy, Detroit MI. He is also a published poet.