Mother Teresa’s Humility List

By September 1, 2013 January 2nd, 2017 Homily


One of the things I love to doing in the summer time and haven’t got to do too much is water skiing because we’ve had this crummy weather, but I not only love to water skiing myself but my favorite thing is to teach people how to water ski. This summer I got to teach my middle sister, Kristy who’s getting married this fall, to wave board. She got up on the first try wave boarding which was pretty exciting. Then I taught my oldest niece, Kelsey, how to water ski. We have some little kid skis and on the third or fourth try she finally got up water skiing and went almost 50 yards and that was pretty awesome to do. One of the tips that I always tell people when training them or teaching them how to ski is you’ve got to stay low. You have to keep your center of gravity low. You have to stay down and get comfortable. Once you get comfortable, you can stand up. The tendency is when you water ski to stand up right away. What happens when you stand up right away? You fall, you crash and you end up falling over because we don’t have that mode center of gravity and I’m always teaching them how to do that.

I want to give a little demonstration. Are there any water skiers out there that can come up and help me out real quick? Oh, and I’ll need a football player too or swimmers. Jake come up and help me out real quick. I promise it won’t be too embarrassing. Jacob just stand here. Jacob are you taller than me now? (Shakes head yes). I want you to know this, he’s way taller than me.

Demo: Low center of gravity because I’m going to try to push you over. Keep your center of gravity low so that I can’t push you over. Put your arms out, pretend you’re water skiing. Get a little bit lower because I’m going to knock you over right now. You’ve never water skied? Well pretend you’re diving. Get low, a little bit lower and watch this. A little bit lower. OK if I try to push him . . . . demo. That’s low center of gravity and I can’t knock him over. Now, I want you to get as high as you can. Stand on your tippy toes and put your arms up like your diving or something. Get all your weight up high. High center of gravity. See how easy it was to push him? Thank you. Jacob you’re going to be a good water skier and a good priest I think.

The idea is water skiing, football and all the sports you tell the kids to keep their center of gravity low because if you do you’re going to maintain your balance and it’s going to be really hard to knock you over. If you don’t, if you stand up tall and keep your center of gravity high, it’s really easy to fall over, it’s real easy to lose your balance and real easy to get knocked over.

The same concept is true with spiritual life. We can keep our spiritual center of gravity low as well and if we do, it’s really easier to maintain our balance. It’s a lot more difficult for satan the enemy or people to knock us over if we keep our spiritual center of gravity low and that’s humility. The opposite of humility is pride. If we keep our center of gravity high, you’re kind of self-righteous or anything like that, it’s really easy to get knocked over. It’s really easy to get knocked down, even the wind can kind of shift us. When our center of gravity is high in our spiritual life, we kind of get tossed around by the world. It’s really easy to get knocked around by the world. But again if we can maintain, that posture is low, we remain strong and it’s very difficult to knock us over.

Mother Teresa is one of our greatest saints of this time, always talked about humility. All the saints will talk about humility being the greatest virtues. The funny thing about Mother Teresa, she’s a really a short woman. Not only was she really short but any time you see pictures of her as she got older and older she was crouched over. She kind of had the physical humility down but she talked about this whole notion of spiritual humility.

She said that humility is the mother of all virtues. It’s beyond purity, charity and obedience. It is being humble that our love becomes real, devoted and ardent. If you are humble, nothing can touch you because you know what you are. If you are plain, you will not be discouraged. If they call you a saint, you will not put yourself on a pedestal. What she’s trying to say is that if we remain spiritually humble, keep our spiritual center of gravity low, we’re not going to get tossed around by the world.

So if someone says something bad about us or criticizes us it’s not going to affect us that much because our spiritual center of gravity is low and is not going to shake us up. Or if someone says something really good about us or tries to say that we’re holy, we’re not going to stand on a pedestal and say, “Look at me, I’m the best.” We’re going to have the spiritual center of gravity.

She has this recipe for humility. Some of her power is Mother Teresa’s 15 points of humility. What I’m going to do is read you the 15. They’re very brief and you don’t need to memorize all 15 or remember all 15. What I want you to do is remember one. Try to remember one of these and throughout your week try to live it out. I’m sure for each and every one of you, one of these is going to apply.

Mother Teresa’s 15 Ways of Humility. There are 15 ways to keep a low spiritual center of gravity.

1. Speak as little as possible about yourself.
2. Keep busy with your own affairs and not the affairs of others.
3. Avoid curiosity and gossip.
4. Do not interfere with the affair of others.
5. Except irritations with good humor.
6. Do not dwell on the faults of others.
7. Except censures even if unmerited. (So censures are punishments or imprisonments or difficulties).
8. Give into the will of others and not your own will.
9. Except insults and injuries.
10. Except intense being forgotten and disregarded.
11. Be courteous and even when provoked by someone.
12. Do not seek to be admired, praised or loved.
13. Do not protect yourself behind your own dignity.
14. Give in in discussions even when you are right.
15. Choose always the more difficult path.

These are Mother Teresa’s 15 ways of living out humility. My hope is that each of us will pick one and focus on it because it’s only by practicing humility that we can truly have a low spiritual center of gravity. When we live a humble life, we’re not going to be as easily or quickly knocked around by the world or quickly knocked around by the devil or the enemies and we can surely live a life that is good and virtuous.

As Mother Teresa said, “Humility is the mother of all virtues.”