Humility, that is, lowliness or self-abasement, is an inward bowing down or prostrating of the heart and of the conscience before God's transcendent worth. Righteousness demands and orders this, and through charity a loving heart cannot leave it undone. When a lowly and loving man considers that God has served him so humbly, so lovingly, and so faithfully; and sees God so high, and so mighty, and so noble, and man so poor, and so little, and so low: then there springs up within the humble heart a great awe and a great veneration for God. For to pay homage to God by every outward and inward act, this is the first and dearest work of humility, the most savory among those of charity, and most meet among those of righteousness. ... [H]e is humble in his devotions, both outwardly and inwardly, before God and before all men, so that none are offended because of him. And so he overcomes and casts out Pride, which is the source and origin of all other sins. By humility the snares of the devil, and of sin, and of the world, are broken, and man is set in order, and established in the very condition of virtue. And heaven is opened to him, and God stoops to hear his prayers, and he is fulfilled with grace. And Christ, that strong rock, is his foundation. Whosoever therefore grounds his virtues in humility, he shall never err.
From this humility there springs  obedience, for none can be inwardly obedient save the humble man.
Obedience means an unassuming, submissive, and pliable humour, and a will in readiness for all that is good. Obedience makes a man submit to the biddings, the forbiddings, and the will of God; it subjects the senses and the animal powers to the higher reason, so that a man may live decently and reasonably. And it makes men submissive and obedient to Holy Church, to the sacraments, to the prelates and their teaching, to their commandments and their counsels, and to all the good customs practised by Holy Christendom.
From this obedience there springs  the renunciation of one's own will and one's own opinion, for none can submit his own will in all things to the will of another, save the obedient man: though one may obey in outward things and yet remain self-willed. ... By renouncing self-will in doing, in leaving undone, and in suffering, the material and occasion of pride are wholly cast out, and humility is made perfect in the highest degree. And God becomes the Lord of the man's whole will; and the man's will is so united with the will of God that he can neither will nor desire in any other way.
From the renunciation of self-will springs  patience; for none can be perfectly patient in all things save the man who has subjected his own will to the will of God, and also in all profitable and seemly things, to the will of all other men.
Patience is a peaceful endurance of all things that may befall a man either from God or from the creatures. Nothing can trouble the patient man; neither the loss of earthly goods, of friends and kinsmen, nor sickness, nor disgrace, nor life, nor death, nor purgatory, nor devil, nor hell.
From this patience there spring  meekness and kindliness, for none can be meek in adversity save the patient man. Meekness gives a man peace and rest in all things. For the meek man can bear provoking words and ways, uncivil looks and deeds, and every kind of injustice towards himself and his friends, and yet in all things remain in peace, for meekness is peaceful endurance.
By meekness the irascible or repulsive power remains unmoved, in quietude; the desirous power is uplifted toward virtue; the rational power, perceiving this, rejoices. And the conscience, tasting it, rests in peace; for the second mortal sin, anger, fury, or wrath, has been cast out. For the Spirit of God dwells in the humble and the meek; and Christ says: "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth," that is, their own nature and all earthly things, in meekness; and after that the Country of Life in Eternity.
Out of the same source wherein meekness takes its rise springs  kindliness, for none can be kind save the meek man.
This kindness makes a man show a friendly face, and give a cordial response, and do compassionate deeds, to those who are quarrelsome, when he hopes that they will come to know themselves and mend their ways.
By gentleness and kindness, charity is kept quick and fruitful in man, for a heart full of kindness is like a lamp full of precious oil; for the oil of mercy enlightens the erring sinner with good example, and with words and works of comfort it anoints and heals those whose hearts are wounded or grieved or perplexed. And it is a fire and a light for those who dwell in the virtues, in the fire of charity; and neither jealousy nor envy can perturb it.
Blessed John of Ruysbroeck, the Admirable
The adornment of the spiritual marriage (c. 1335)