Follow Christ and You Will Never Face Humiliation


 

Image result for humiliation

 

I once got into one of those deep discussions with a friend about the difference between being humbled and being humiliated.  My friend insisted that both were the same but I insisted that they were not.  Although we never managed to agree, the debate led me to think about why we could not ultimately find common ground.  Ultimately, I concluded that we were looking at two completely different things. My friend saw humiliation as being put down, and humility as resulting from being put down, so he concluded that humiliation brings about humility.  While I agree that being humiliated might make one more humble, I believe that this is only a small part of the story and certainly not enough to generalize and sweep both terms under the same rug.

Humiliation is Public and Humility is Private

Humiliation only occurs when we feel we have looked bad in public. A castaway living on a deserted island who burns his dinner will not feel humiliation because there is nobody to judge his performance.  In other words,  the flames of humiliation are fanned by public exposure and shame.  The less we care about public acceptance or judgment, the less we will be humiliated by anything that public sees.  Humility, on the other hand, does not depend on and even avoids public exposure.  The humble person does not do what she does to gain public acceptance or acclaim. Humility is pure and simple. Its motivation is not public favor but, rather, private value.  The Virgin Mary, for example, a paragon of humility, did not seek fame or popularity but only the fulfillment and satisfaction of loving, serving, and obeying God.

Humiliation is Superficial and Humility is Transcendental

Since humiliation is obsessed with public perception, it is by nature superficial.  A criminal who is not caught will not feel humiliation because nobody is aware of his crime. That criminal’s only concern is not being caught. Humiliation does not concern itself with the right or wrong of things but with public perception. Humility, on the other hand, transcends what is merely superficial and goes much deeper. People are not humble in order to look good because false humility is so apparent and obvious. Humble people never think about their humility because to do so would contradict their very humility.

Humiliation is Selfish and Humility is Selfless

By definition, humiliation is obsessed with self. The person who fails to help an elderly person cross the road because he is afraid that his friends would mock him for doing so is only thinking of himself in trying to avoid humiliation.  In fact, one cannot feel humiliation unless one is thinking of oneself. Veronica did not feel humiliation in jumping to wipe Our Lord’s face because she was not thinking of herself and, consistent with the earlier points, did not care what others thought of her actions.  In fact, Veronica was humble yet courageous in her actions.  Her selfless love and compassion for Our Lord was so great that what we perceive as courage was, in fact, as natural as breathing for her. There were no other options to her than to help Our Lord because she humbly saw herself as a simple instrument to bring relief to him.

Conclusion

How often do we hear that Christ suffered a humiliating death!  How foolish is that assertion in the light of what we have discussed here!  How can lovingly sacrificing oneself out of love ever be humiliating?  Perhaps only to the eyes of a selfish, self-obsessed world so steeped in appearances and popularity! Love and service to others can never be humiliating. How can we say, for example, that Mother Teresa humiliated herself by caring for the personal needs of the poor and sick?  At the end of the day, we can never humiliate ourselves by following Our Lord, who humbled himself to save us.  Our Lord showed us that the value of what we do never depends on what this world thinks of our actions. Rather, the more we place God and others before ourselves, the closer to God we will move.  Let us follow Christ in loving and serving God and others. Let us look only to God for favor and we will truly be oblivious to the foolish swipes which this superficial world calls humiliations.

2017  Gabriel Garnica

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What does being Grounded mean?


For many people, the word “grounded” will only bring up notions of being punished by parents and not allowed to go out or use the car. However, a more positive view of that word means being being focused on one’s present and not obsessed with the past or the future.  It means to know who you are as a person and, consequently, who you are not.

Having Roots

Many folks think of having roots as owning a home or having a long connection to a community. While this meaning of roots is certainly popular, another meaning is having a firm and deep sense of who one is and is not.  If you understand what your values are, for example, and have assessed their relative importance in your life, you will have a greater grounding.  In order to understand what my values are and their relative importance, I need to have thought about them at length and reflected on why I have those particular values. I also need to have considered the connection of my respective values to my overall sense of myself as a person. We each have a self-identity as a person and as a Catholic. One would assume to we would rank each respective value by how closely that value ties into our self-identity.  While having good penmanship may be one of a person’s values, it is unlikely to be too closely connected to his sense of what being a good Catholic is all about.  Conversely, attending religious services and being kind to others are values which would likely have a closer connection and hence be considered more important.

Just as knowing who you are and what you want to be is important, knowing who you are not and what you do not want to become is a critical aspect of having roots. If I do not want to be seen as liar or arrogant, I will likely do all I can to avoid giving off that impression.  Therefore, by avoiding things which hinder our values and embracing things which enhance our values, we deepen and strengthen our roots as Catholics.

The Role of Falls in Developing Roots

Whenever we experience any kind of mishap, stumble, or misfortune, we have the option of using such falls to grow toward God or away from Him.  To the extent that we think of such falls in terms of only ourselves, we may often grow away from God.  Why?  Because we will likely only consider how these falls impact how others see us and how we see ourselves apart from God.  On the other hand, to the extent that we consider such falls in terms of our relationship to God, we will have the opportunity to grow toward God.  Why?  Because rather than see each fall as some humiliating event, we will only consider how the fall provides us with an opportunity to grow closer to God. Ultimately, growing closer to God is all that matters anyway.

Seen in this way, falls provide us with a wonderful opportunity to grow roots in our Catholicism, We need only to approach such falls in this way and let God do the rest.

2017   Gabriel Garnica