“To fly from the pride of being first, there is only the path of opening the heart to humility, to humility that never arrives without humiliation. This is one thing that is not naturally understood. It is a grace we must ask for.”
--Pope Francis 
Catholic social teaching is full of the virtue of humility. The list of verses in the Bible that discuss humility goes on and on, especially when read with an eye and ear for interpretation…. In this I mean that the Bible can contain Wisdom that encompasses many subjects, for ways of living in right relationship, even when we are searching for specific answers about specific problems. The greatest literature encompasses truth for many ideas through its lyric wisdom. A single biblical passage may have as much relevance for our inquiry about love as it might have for our inquiry about humility. It is in the way that we read things. The tarot (a type of book or “pauper’s bible”) is like this, too. A single card can have as much significance when questioned about our feelings of love prospects as the same single card can when used to interpret our feelings of frustration in reference to our workplace environment.
What I am saying in the paragraph above does not mean that the Bible, or passages in the Bible should be taken out of context in order to bolster a previously held opinion or sympathy. Likewise, the good news that the tarot can share with us should not be used to scam, frighten, or otherwise take advantage of vulnerable clients looking for affirmations of irrational choices in their lives. If you think those two scenarios are far fields away from one another, then you don’t yet understand. The reason that St. Augustine was so particular in his de doctrina christiana about humility when approaching the Word of God, and the reason that Paul prescribed applying the virtues of Love, Faith, and Hope to the laws of community living, is because we must always use an eyeglass of virtue to interpret words from the stance of Wisdom.
“Who is wise and understanding among you? Show by your good life that your works are done with gentleness born of wisdom. But if you have bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not be boastful and false to the truth.”
--James 3:13-14 
Anyone can take any set of words or phrase from a sacred text and apply it in ways that are self-fulfilling to his or her own opinions. (In some ways I am doing that myself by inserting block quotes of Bible passages in this post. When authors do this, it’s sometimes appropriate and enriches the meaning of an argument or thesis, and other times an author may use this convention as a soundbite—taking an extracted passage out of context and applying it as an authoritative statement because in its shortened version it appears to support the argument or thesis. This is called “spin,” and anyone living in contemporary American society should be familiar with it, because we are bombarded with it constantly. Spin and marketing are so egregiously applied to the American public psyche in our everyday lives—in ways that are blatant as well as insidiously unconscious—that being able to “interpret” the information we are handed every day can become an unbearable task, a Sisyphean task, and a task that might even drive us insane if we allowed it. So a lot of us try to tune it out, or become desensitized to it. The problem is, we are desensitized to it. And the bombardment is so relentless that the insidiousness of it can brainwash us.
“…look at ships: though they are so large that it takes strong winds to drive them, yet they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great exploits.”
Here is the truth about extracted block quotes and soundbites. You can’t—in our day and age—take things at face value or trust something just because it sounds smart in the moment. You have to be an investigative warrior, research an argument or thesis, look up the quotation or block quote or soundbite, and determine for yourself whether it actually has reasonable applications to the topic and opinion. You have to think for yourself instead of letting soundbites do it for you. And I know it’s hard. We are literally so inundated with soundbites that who in their right mind has the time to research, unravel, and debate the truth or validity of them all?!! We have better things to do with our time. And yet if we don’t arm ourselves with knowledge and wisdom, we simply allow someone else’s trickery to lure us into false beliefs… we let ourselves get brainwashed… and we end up perpetuating bad information and making bad decisions based on the information.
"Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles?"
When Pope Francis talks about the “evil” and “satan” that still exists in the world, it is easy for us to roll our eyes and think, “Well, he’s an old man; he comes from a older generation that used boiler-plate language to rally congregations into living fearfully and making moral choices out of fear of hell.” But I don’t think that’s true when he is speaking in a contemporary context… I think that when Pope Francis speaks of “evil” and comments that “satan still roams among us,” he is speaking to this brainwashing of contemporary minds, of being bombarded by so much “spin” and so many opinions that we neglect to use the lens of virtue to interpret our independent situations. We become lazy or uncompassionate, though we can hardly be blamed… because we are overwhelmed with less than good intentions by the marketing, social memes, and political manipulations that are fed to us every day. These are the “evils” and “satans” that Pope Francis speaks about.
We aren’t all trained to use Wisdom, or the classical virtues to interpret our lives and our choices. It becomes less and less certain who we should trust to help us interpret all the information with which we’re bombarded. The good news is that if we take the time to slow down, focus, and listen with the ears of our hearts… we can hear the Wisdom and the Virtues that ought to be filters for our choices and actions.
Pope Francis has recently made several homilies referencing humility. Some of them have been in castigating response to the Italian mafia’s corrupt dealings. Some have been in sympathetic response to European temperament of immigrants fleeing untenable living conditions in northern Africa. Regardless, one doesn’t have to know about these human crises, or be involved in their politics in order to gain from the wisdom inherent in the words—to learn about accepting humility in our hearts and minds in our own everyday lives. Links to these homilies are provided below…
Pope Francis: “Christian Humility is not Masochism, but Love.”
Pope Francis, in meeting with Italy’s Prime Minister, reflects on the role of government, and invokes the wisdom of Temperance, noting that governments must promote conditions of peace and calm, while at the same time are responsible for creating conditions for Justice and sustainable development, “so that civil societies can develop all its potentialities.”
During his Ubi et Orbi message, Pope Francis noted that, “While the world says we must do whatever it takes to win, Christians, he said, by the grace of Christ, ‘seek to live in service to one another, not to be arrogant, but rather respectful and ready to help.’ Pope Francis said this is not weakness, but true Strength.”
(all radio vaticana links last accessed in May of 2015)
 All Biblical passages are referenced from the Newly Revised Standard Version.