Thursday 10 December 2020

Be Yourself An Explanation of Humility - William Lawson SJ - CTS Explanations

Be Yourself: An Explanation of Humility
Prayers and Devotions
William Lawson SJ
ISBN 9781860820199
eISBN 9781784692711
CTS Booklet DO252

Over the last few years, I have read over 150 volumes from the CTS. I have read books from many series. And many authors. Lately I have read several books that are part of the  CTS Devotions and Prayer Series. I have read many in the CTS Biographies and also Saints of the Isles Series, and the Great Saints Series. I picked up this volume based on just the title. For years now my signature file in email has started with “Yours, learning to be” and this book seemed like a good fit for that lifelong quest. The book was originally published in 1950 to much acclaim. Then the reprint edition was in 1997 and the eBook released in 2017. The description of the booklet is:

“William Lawson, SJ was a writer of powerful simplicity. He penned this celebrated text in 1950, and it met with immediate success perhaps due as much to its radical exposure of all that passes for Christian humility as for its enduring explanation of the gospel. We are hardly to be blamed, he says, if we do not know what humility is; there are so many fakes. Yet the simple virtue consists above all else in being your true self. The challenge Christ brings involves knowing the truth about yourself, and following Christ as God has made you.”

The chapters in the volume are:
Humility is Anonymous 
Humility is Various 
Humility is Truth 
Know the Bad in You 
Know the Good in You 
Your Limitations 
Dependence on God 
Being Someone Else 
Play Your Part 
Practice of Humility 
Three Degrees of Humility 
Be Yourself

And it is an excellent little volume. It is one of the shortest reads I have read from the CTS Booklets series. I have already read this book twice and will likely read it many more times. I highlighted 4 passages my first time through. They were:

“But humility is, in a sense, all the virtues: and it shows itself, at different times, as faith, confidence, minding your own business, joy, courage, giving a piece of your mind, gentleness, and any goodness you can name.”

“What is required for humility is that you should know the truth about yourself, and that you should live that truth: you should know yourself fully, and you should live fully according to that knowledge. Then there will be no shams in you, no deceits and false pretences. And you will be just what you should be in your relations to God and to your fellow-creatures.”

“It is not humble to be downcast, to be full of self-reproaches, even about grave sin once it has been removed by grace.”

“The truth about yourself is that you are made by God to be full of goodness. Humility for you is to live a life of goodness in your own special way according to your own special gifts from God. 
     Be yourself. It is a great life!”

The last are the final words of the volume. And they rang so true I returned to the beginning and reread it the next day. When I was in university and on a retreat one of the speakers recommended reading a chapter of the book of Psalms every day for a year. The repetition was designed to help sing home the message and go deeper into the material. And like the Jewish tradition to allow it to sink in. I plan on doing that with this volume. I will read it at least once a month for the next year.

This is one of those books that when I read it, I really wishes I had come across it when I was much younger. And it is a volume I will recommend and promote to friends, family, and youth in my circles. It is a book any Catholic, any Christian would benefit from reading, and applying. It is an excellent read and now I want to track down some of his other volumes for the Catholic Truth Society.

A great book I highly recommend!

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2020 Catholic Reading Plan! For other reviews of books from the Catholic Truth Society click here.

Books by William Lawson SJ:
All Things Are Not Beneficial
Living the Commandments 
Devotion of the Nine First Fridays 

Books in the CTS Explanations Series:
Marriage Annulment in the Catholic Church
Jehovah’s Witnesses
Does the Church oppress Women?
Organ Transplant – and the definition of Death
Be Yourself An Explanation of Humility - William Lawson SJ
Gene Therapy – and Human Genetic Engineering
Prenatal tests
Gift of life and Love
Cloning and Stem Cell Research
Contraception and Chastity
Freemasonry and the Christian Faith
Intelligent Life in the Universe
Spirits, Mediums & The Afterlife

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