A couple of years ago, I had one of the most humiliating meetings of my life. Unknowingly, I came into a hostile room. I was unprepared for the level of anger among some of the Catholic leaders gathered. While their frustrations weren’t with me directly, I was a quick and easy target for their wrath. If the tone alone didn’t scream “unchristian,” the actual screaming certainly did. Usually, I am able to tap dance my way out of these situations. However, this time, I was like a deer in head lights. All I could do was sit and take it. It was humiliating. A few days later, I was speaking with a good priest friend of mine who has a challenging assignment. I told him of my trauma and asked what my next step should be. Father answered, “Say thank you.” Say what? “Every time I’m humiliated,” he said, “I stop. I close my eyes and I say thank you to God for reminding me how much I need Him.”
I don’t know about you, but for me, the idea of “humility” and “humiliation” couldn’t be further apart. When things don’t go my way, when I am embarrassed or ashamed, do I see that as a diminishment of my power or a reminder of the Lord’s? Do I choose to acknowledge my weakness and “draw my strength from Jesus?” I need only look to the cross to see that the choice to truly humble oneself doesn’t bring praise, but rather humiliation. Thankfully for us, it ultimately brings salvation.