Reflection on a Saying of a Desert Christian: Abba Longinos

Abba Longinos was once asked which virtue he considered most important of all.

“Just as pride is the greatest of all evils, since it succeeded in casting the angels from heaven to the abyss, so humility is the greatest of all virtues. It had the power to raise the sinner from the abyss up to heaven. For this reason, the Lord blesses, before all others, the poor in spirit.”

Recently, I have been known to say that Jesus replaced Leviticus with the Beatitudes. Jesus tells us all the Law and all the Prophets are summed up in the Two Great Commandments. The Beatitudes show us the way to love our neighbors as ourselves, to love our neighbors as God first loved us. The Beatitudes both presuppose and teach us what it means to embrace humility. Is this a challenge? Oh, yes, it is.But before we balk at the difficulties, let us think what we get to embrace on the other side of the hard journey. We get God.

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