How do we know we have the virtue of humility or any virtues?
In a superb chapter in Vol. II of Rodriguez, on pp. 184-186, the good priest shares several good points on signs as to whether we have acquired the virtue of humility. I sincerely hope that people can make the connections between these points and the looming time of tribulation.
First of all, is the virtue comes easily, it is truly a habit. If one must strive to be humble, and work on the thoughts which precede a humble action, one has not yet made this virtue a habit.
Perfection of humility just happens after the time of purgation. When one is purified, God gives grace for the virtues to be released and one can work on these, in order to form a habit.
Second, Rodriguez states that even when one is asleep, and has troubling temptations, thoughts, or images which are sinful or could lead to sin, in the dream itself, one reacts in fighting these and feels the discomfort of impending sign. That one can get upset in a nasty dream is a clear sign that one has made humility habitual. Again, if one is dreaming and in a situation of persecution and one is reacting with peace, calm, reticence in speech and such, one is making humility habitual.
Third, in acts of virtue, even in the actions of the virtue of humility, one feels a pleasure, a delight in these being performed. For example, if one is treated with contempt, one feels a soft, quiet joy in this happening. If this reaction happens consistently, one is mastering the virtue of humility.
Rodriguez quotes St. Dorotheus, "The ancient fathers held for a constant maxim, that what the mind does not joyfully embrace cannot be of any continuance."
How true. One can have moments of breakthrough with regard to the virtue of humility, such as a moment of joy when one is accused of something one did not do, but it is only in the day-by-day living of this habit which shows that one has come into a deep state of humility.
As to prayer, contemplation, (not meditation, which is different, and see past blogs on this), becomes natural to the soul which is humble. When contemplation, as Rodriguez notes, "comes from the bottom of one's heart" and not from effort, one has been humbled.
Fourth, if one takes delight in obeying the laws of God, both natural and revealed, one is walking in humility.
Rodriguez quotes Psalm 1: 2-3. And, prosperity does not mean that one will have a materially comfortable life on earth, but will see the fruit of a life of virtue in heaven.