Chapter 3:
Maxims of Humility

Maxim 3:1
Empty yourself
in honour of the Incarnate Word
who emptied himself with such love
for your sake
and in this self-emptying,
profess the most sincere and profound humility
known to you.

Maxim 3:2
In order to become humble
remember that you are nothing,
illusion and sin:
nothing, in your being;
sin, in the offenses you have so often committed and commit daily;
illusion, in the esteem people have for you and your actions.

The latter are surely illusions since
they have more the appearance of good
than the reality, and
are often praised by others
when in fact they deserve blame.

Maxim 3:3
As a result of this knowledge,
humble yourself, abase yourself,
empty yourself constantly before God and before others.
Believe yourself undeserving of any kind of good
and deserving of all kinds of evil.
Fear the judgments of God
which are very different from human judgments.
Have a great repugnance for the praise and esteem of others.
Love contempt and seek after it.
Accept the truth that great souls
find a precious treasure of grace and consolation
in occasions of humiliation
when they accept them as they should.
In the same way you bless God
with perfect joy of spirit when it happens that
you are overlooked, held in contempt,
contradicted or little esteemed by the world.
These are the sentiments of humility by which the saints lived
and which you should make your own,
knowing their virtue to have been incomparably
greater than yours,
and that in contrast to their outstanding holiness
your life is full of imperfections.

Maxim 3:4
In all your undertakings,
base the strength of your decisions and
your hope of success
on a complete lack of confidence in yourself
together with complete confidence in God alone.
Practise these acts especially
at the beginning of an enterprise.
In order to combine prudence with true humility,
even though you should expect everything from God
in what you undertake,
be as diligent in carrying out your undertakings
as if everything depended on your efforts alone
and God had entrusted their success entirely
to your vigilance and your efforts.

Maxim 3:5
Never speak of yourself, either well or ill,
unless there is some real necessity.
In this case, try to express what you have to say
with moderation and discretion,
so that you will not say anything out of place
or prompted by vanity.

Maxim 3:6
Do not have a high opinion of yourself
or of what you do.
Be convinced that if you really knew yourself
and the imperfections present in everything you do,
you would have great contempt for yourself and
great difficulty in putting up with yourself.

Maxim 3:7
Never find fault with anyone
but yourself.
Always acknowledge your own faults and
excuse others.

Maxim 3:8
At the conclusion of your good works,
in order not to lose their fruit and
to merit the grace of persevering in them,
shun with horror any complacency
you might take in them.
Give all the glory to God and
to our Saviour Jesus who by his death
has become the principle and, as it were,
the soul of your supernatural life
and your good actions.

Maxim 3:9
Moreover, when you have succeeded in these same actions,
be convinced that your meager fidelity to grace and
the sins you committed while performing them
have probably caused their progress
to be much less than God had reason to expect from your part in them.

Maxim 3:10
Believe that in the course of your life
you do nothing except impede
the adorable designs of God's grace
and lessen its fruits and effectiveness.

Maxim 3:11
Desire that others be well thought of,
and be pleased when they are preferred to you
in everything.

Maxim 3:12
Be pleased that others are more intelligent
and more talented than you,
more virtuous and more favoured with supernatural graces,
if this should be God's will.
On the one hand,
consider yourself unworthy of these graces
and on the other hand,
adore God's designs and place all your satisfaction
in the accomplishment of God's good pleasure.

Maxim 3:13
Conceal as far as you can
the little grace that God sees fit to give you.
Reveal it only to your spiritual director,
candidly, simply and humbly.
On the contrary,
make known when occasions arise
what will make others look down on you.
But do this with discretion,
and without offending against prudence, obedience or charity.

Maxim 3:14
However pure your views and intentions may appear,
be persuaded that you seek yourself
in some recess of your self-love.
Nature is always intermingled with the workings of grace,
and indeed, there are few virtues
that are wholly free of self-love.

Maxim 3:15
Continue the good works you have begun
until they are near completion,
and then,
if you can do so, let them be finished
by somebody else who will have the credit for them
in the eyes of others.
Then you will have greater glory in heaven.

Maxim 3:16
When it happens that you have a foretaste
of the sweetness of sensible grace and tender consolation,
remember that this grace is loaned to you
rather than given, that it belongs less to you
than to the Saviour Jesus from whose merits it comes,
and that he can take it from you
whenever he pleases
without any injustice to you,
especially if you become unworthy of it.
Remember that although by his divine plan he can deprive you of his friendship
only as a result of sin on your part,
he is not obliged to communicate himself
so generously.
When he does, the lavishness of his divine mercy should overwhelm you
as you realize how undeserving you are
and how continually you misuse his boundless gifts.