Continuing to guide the Missionaries on the quality of their “being” Eugene’s 1818 Rule highlights the importance of the virtue of humility.

This is how they will succeed in getting familiar with the holy virtue of humility, that they will continually ask God for.

Coming from the Latin word for ground (“humus”) it has nothing to do with the caricature of a false piety of always demeaning oneself. As I read his writings I think that we can say that for Eugene, humility was about keeping both feet firmly on the ground. It was about God and the Missionary having their rightful place in their relationship.

… since it is absolutely necessary for the perilous ministry in which they are engaged. So rich, indeed, are the fruits of this ministry, that it is to be feared that such marvelous achievements—due as they are to grace alone and whose glory consequently belongs only to God—might prove a dangerous snare for an imperfect missionary, who has not sufficiently cultivated this fundamental and indispensable virtue.

1818 Rule, Part Two, Chapter One. Regarding other principal observances

Humility is about the Missionary keeping focused on God and never forgetting that he is God’s co-operator, God’s instrument of salvation.

We find exactly the same concern in Jesus for his apostles after the miracle of the multiplication of the bread: “Immediately he made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side, to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd.” Mark 6:45. Imitating Jesus, Eugene wants all the honor and “glory” of their missionary successes to go to God and not to the heads of the Missionaries.

Their concern is to keep their feet firmly on the ground and let the Savior act through them.


“Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.”    Rick Warren

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associates says:

    I really like this. To me humility has been about “truth” – “feet on the ground” truth. That includes seeing ourselves with all of our strengths and goodness as well as all of the weaknesses – I want to say our shared divinity with God and our humanness. Only then can we really be missionaries, cooperators of our God. And then to wrap it all up and look again at Eugene – it requires that “all for God”.

    It sounds so easy and idealist. But I guess maybe the hope is that it is possible, and attainable if we keep asking god for that grace, that gift of humility. If I get too full of myself there will simply be no room for God to be God. I guess I need to go about the ordinary everyday part of life and let God be God.

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