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Accepting humiliations key to developing humility March 27, 2014

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, fun, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Interior Life, Saints, sanctity, Tradition, Virtue.

I don’t know about you, but being humiliated is about the most painful thing I can experience, at least emotionally.  But Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen argues persuasively in Divine Intimacy that acceptance of humiliations is very necessary for growth in true humility, the virtue that underlies charity and all the others.  Can we learn to accept humiliations not only passively, but with a thankful heart?  See what you think after reading the below:

Many souls would like to be humble, but few desire humiliation; many ask God to make them humble and fervently pray for this, but very few want to be humiliated.  Yet it is impossible to gain humility without humiliations; for just as studying is the way to acquire knowledge, so it is by the way of humiliation that we attain to humility.

As long as we only desire this virtue of humility, but are not willing to accept the means thereto, not even are we on the true road to acquiring it.  Even if in certain situations we succeed in acting humbly, this may well be the result of a superficial and apparent humility rather than of a humility that is real and profound. Humility is truth; therefore, let us tell ourselves that since we possess nothing of ourselves but sin, it is but just that we receive only humiliation and scorn.  If we were really convinced of this truth, we would find it very just that all should humiliate us, treat us without consideration, and despise us. In fact, what honor and consideration does one deserve who has offended his Creator, when a single sin- even a venial one – is more deplorable and worthy of of more contempt than the most miserable earthly condition, the poorest and lowest estate?  The Saints were so firmly convinced of this truth that they never found the humiliations which came to them too painful; they considered them, on the contrary, always less than they deserved.  “I never heard anything bad said of me,”  said St. Teresa of Jesus, “which I did not clearly realize deserved, and even more, If I had not offended God in the way proffered, I had done so in so many other ways.  I felt they had treated me far too indulgently in saying nothing about these.” (Way of Perfection, 15)

Bear your humiliations patiently, for man is tried in this crucible as gold in the fire (Sir, II:4,5). If we feel the weight of our pride and wish to be rid of it, we must accept humiliations calmly-through them the Lord will crush our pride.

Before seeking humiliations on our own initiative, we should prepare to accept those which will come to us against our will. Whereas subtle pride might work its way into the lowly acts we impose upon ourselves – for example, the desire to appear humble, ostentatiously riding the bus instead of taking the episcopal car, constantly noting our great humility in public – this danger is absolutely excluded from those which come from others in spite of ourselves.  However, even in this case they must be willingly accepted in order to bear fruit.  It is not the humiliation itself which makes us humble, but the act of the will by which we accept it.  St. Bernard teaches that being humble and being humbled are two different things.  We can say that everyone, in one way or another, receives humiliations in this life. Not many, however, become humble because very few accept humiliation and submit to it patiently. 

What profit do we draw from humiliations, if instead of accepting them, we oppose and resist them with resentment and vexation and become angry with the person who gives them to us?

It is true that these occasions are not agreeable to our proud, sensitive nature; nevertheless, although we feel their bitterness, we must force ourselves to accept them graciously……If, in spite of all the repugnance and resistance of nature, we accept a humiliation by an act of the will, and assure God that we want to be content with it and to savor it thoroughly, we will gradually become humble.  The hard, bitter bread of abasement will become, little by little, sweet and pleasant, but we will not find it agreeable until we have been nourished by it for a long time. Moreover, the most important thing is not the sweetness, but the willingness to accept everything that is humiliating. “Allow thyself to be taught, allow thyself to be commanded, allow thyself to be enslaved and brought into submission and despised, if thou shalt be perfect!” (St. Juan de la Cruz, Spiritual Maxims, II, 33).

St. Teresa of Jesus: “O Lord, how can a person like me, who deserves to be tortured by demons for eternity, be insulted? If I am badly treated in this world, is it not just? Really, Lord, I have nothing to offer You in this regard……I know that I am so guilty in Your eyes that I feel that those who insult me are treating me too well, although they think they are offending me, not knowing me as well as you do.” (Way of Perfection, 36).

—————End Quote————-

I am obviously not one who takes humiliations well!  This is a very, very difficult thing to learn, but I think Fr. Gabriel is right that it is also very necessary.

Do your best. Practice mortification.  And above all, pray.  In time, if we understand what is required of us to lead a virtuous life, and we pray to do so, we will.  God will mold us if we let Him.

How different we are from what we are called to be!  I pray we have far more shepherds who will help mold us in true virtue and real practice of the interior life!



1. larry trasciatti - March 27, 2014

Because I’m a lay Carmelite I’ve been reading “Divine Intimacy” every day for the past few years. Fr. Gabriel has been helping me a lot

2. Baseballmom - March 27, 2014

God will molds us if we let Him. AMEN!!!!!

3. St Maravillas21 - March 29, 2014

Reblogged this on Carmel, Garden of God.

4. Humility and Submission | A Pastor's Thoughts - April 1, 2014

[…] Accepting humiliations key to developing humility (veneremurcernui.wordpress.com) […]

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