Learning Humility from St. Ignatius

Mike Jordan Laskey writes:

According to the biography by Jesuit Fr. George Traub and Debra Mooney, Ignatius had only been in the Holy Land for a few weeks when church authorities told him to go back to Europe. Chastened, Ignatius decided he needed a more formal education before he could “help souls.” In order to enroll at a university, though, he first needed to learn some basics. Without something like a GED option for later-in-life learners in those days, that meant grammar school….

If Ignatius was like me, he would’ve quit right then and probably faded into obscurity. His decision to go through with it — and not just for a semester or two — is a vivid illustration of Ignatius’ humility.

Humility is a virtue that’s not always well understood. It’s often used to mean self-effacing (“saying you’re not much of a bridge player when you know perfectly well you are,” in the words of theologian Frederick Buechner) or “talented but also quiet or shy.” A humble person can be those things, but they’re not synonymous with humility….

His path is a great model for all of us today, especially those entrusted with leadership of some kind. Try something bold and new, mess up an attempt, admit your mistake, stay committed to your dream even though it could be tempting to quit at this point, take a step backward to learn more, and try something bold again — this time, informed by your experience.