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Humility And Humiliation

It can be hard to distinguish humility from humiliation in our world and in our spiritual lives. I know I was scared to pray for humility for a long time, because I thought of it as humiliation.

Humility is a virtue. Humiliation is not; it's a sin.

Humility makes one stronger and more empathetic. Humiliation tears a person down and makes a person focus more on themselves.

Humility helps one grow in service to others. Humiliation makes one turn inward.

The Annunciation - artist Mikhail Nesterov
Humility is always a good. If more of were humble, our world would be better. Humiliation is never good, and it makes our world a sadder, more unwelcoming place.

Humility should be sought in one's spiritual life. Humiliation should be shunned, both in ourselves and in how we treat others.

A perfect example of humility is our Blessed Mother:

In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary.

And coming to her, he said, “Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you.” But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus.  He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

But Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?” And the angel said to her in reply, “The holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren; for nothing will be impossible for God.”

Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her. 

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

He who humbles himself will be exalted; humility is the foundation of prayer, Only when we humbly acknowledge that "we do not know how to pray as we ought," are we ready to receive freely the gift of prayer. "Man is a beggar before God."

Do not be afraid to pray for humility. God will never humiliate us, because humiliation is not love. It is distressful, harsh, and tears one down. God loves you too much, and He wants only good for you. Humility is good - it is from God. Ask Him for this grace and do not be afraid.

 

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