Learning to Live a Virtuous Life

Humility is the foundation of all the other virtues: hence, in the soul in which this virtue does not exist there cannot be any other virtue except in mere appearance. – Augustine of Hippo

humility-will-felixTo my readers: Over the next year I will be focusing frequently on the living the virtues of Mary in our everyday lives. As St. Augustine so aptly stated above, it is important for me to start my journey with humility. I have much room for growth and I hope you will enjoy taking this journey with me. May our Blessed Mother guide us and keep us close to her heart, bringing our wishes to serve her Son to his feet that He may make us ever aware of our unique purpose.

My realization of the necessity of the virtue of humility began last year during my preparation for a presentation at the Maryland Catholic Women’s Conference  at Mt. Saint Mary’s College in Emmitsburg, I partook of the process of consecrating myself to Mary. I had purchased the book, 33 Days to Morning Glory by Michael Gaitley,  a few years before, but the upcoming event prompted me to search for it.

Here is another God moment share:  I actually found the book (this is no small feat in our queenship of maryhome that could pass for a public library) and as I flipped through its pages I found a list of Marian feast days on which are appropriate to end the consecration. Surprise, surprise. The conference was the weekend of October 11, the Feast of the Queenship of Mary (of course if you google “Marian Feasts” you will see that virtually every day of the year is a feast day for Mary!)   Not only that, but on the day I found the book, I counted back 33 days from the feast, and found if I started on the next day I would finish on that feast day. Coincidence? I think not. I was just listening carefully to my soul’s message to engage the spiritual powers of Mary while I prepared my talk. Fear (or rather pride) will do that.

Now, each morning begins with a Hail Mary before I get out of bed, with a Rosary from my iPhone app  while I do morning stretches. My friend, Mary, is with me throughout my day and the Hail Mary is an antidote to worries and brain chatter. She refocuses me on her Son, Jesus Christ, and brings me out of my own little world to a more humble state of mind.

My favorite saint, Teresa of Avila, defines humility as living in the truth (“andar en la verdad”). Humility is knowing the truth of yourself, seeing yourself clearly, especially our deeply hidden shadows, many of which we have learned to hide even from ourselves, and presenting them for the difficult, but rewarding process of healing. Our Blessed Mother had no shadows, but she did have trials and tribulations. She handled them with the trust placed in her heart at her Immaculate Conception.

humility-is-a-precursor-of-successThe process of my consecration journey revealed surprise shadows…not happy surprises, but their revelation brought a joy of knowing I am in good hands in transforming them to spaces of light. As we move forward through the month of February, I will share my journey and the steps we can take together in building our foundation for virtuous living.

Hail Mary, full of grace…be with us each moment connecting us with the graces of unconditional mercy your Son offers for our healing.

Ellen Marie Dumer, LCPC, president and founder of Living Your Exceptional Life™, is a pastoral counselor, life success coach, published author, and sought-after speaker. She is a guide and mentor for Catholic/Christian women seeking to harness and cultivate their aspirations for a life based on faith in Christ.

She and her husband, Deacon Gary Dumer, live in Maryland, have 4 children and soon-to-be nine grandchildren. Ellen loves to paint and craft, read, go on long bike rides and walks, garden, and spend fun time with her friends!

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