Humility indeed is a very difficult virtue for all of us to practice. However, it is essential for us to grow in holiness. A humble person recognizes that all the good he can do comes from God, but all of the evil he has done is his own choice and his own doing. Saint Teresa of Avila says that humility is the truth.
ROYAL PATHWAY TO HUMILITY. Although it be exceedingly painful, the royal and most efficacious path for us to grow in humility is through the pathway of humiliations. However, it must be highlighted, humiliations that are accepted as part of God’s divine providential plan. In other words, humiliations not accepted in the light of God’s divine providential plan can actually make us more proud, arrogant, even bitter. Humiliations can make us either better or bitter!
CALL TO SANCTIFY OUR SUFFERINGS. Undoubtedly humiliations can cause very intense pain in the depths of our soul. The key is to humbly recognize that humiliations will definitely come our way, and maybe even sooner than we are aware, and that we should strive to recognize them as sent by God and accept them.
SUFFERINGS AND HUMILIATIONS WASTED! It is all too common that many people, even those who call themselves believers in Christ, waste their sufferings, do not take advantage of the sufferings and humiliations that God sends them. These are graces wasted!
A GREAT EXAMPLE IS JESUS, THE SUFFERING SERVANT OF YAHWEH. In all the aspects and circumstances of our lives, Jesus is our supreme and sublime example. He Himself said: I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. To help us to understand humiliations and how to react, Jesus is always our best example! This is true most especially in His Passion and death.
ONE EXAMPLE FOR OUR INSTRUCTION: CROWNING WITH THORNS! One of the most enlightening examples in the Passion and death of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ was when He suffered the crowning with thorns. This humiliating event was prophesied by the great Prophet Isaiah in these words: “He was like a lamb led to the slaughter and He did not open up His mouth. By His wounds we are healed. For our edification, instruction, and motivation, let us unravel step by step the excruciating pains, sufferings, and humiliations that Jesus willingly accepted in His crowning with thorns HUMILIATIONS IN THE CROWNING OF JESUS WITH THORNS:
1. BOUND AND DRAGGED. After being brutally scourged at the pillar, in which Jesus lost huge quantities of blood, He was bound and dragged to a little room, very much like a prison cell. He who came to set captives free allowed Himself to be a captive, even a slave of the whims, insults, and mockeries of men.
2. THE KING’S THRONE. Jesus was, is, and always will be the Lord of Lords and King of Kings. Despite His Kingly royalty, He was dragged into this little chamber and forced to sit on a huge and uncomfortable stone. Blessed Catherine Emmerich stated that pieces of sharp glass were embedded in the huge stone, causing even more intense pain as Jesus sat and unwillingly underwent a night of tortures and humiliations.
3. SMACKED IN THE FACE. The torturers smacked Jesus in His Sacred Face. His face became like flint, as the Prophet Isaiah reminds us. Of course this would have resulted in bruises and bleeding.
4. PUNCHED. Above and beyond the smacking was added fierce and violent blows to His Sacred Face. Jesus remained silent, like a lamb led to the slaughter.
5. PLUCKED HIS BEARD. Once again the Prophet Isaiah reminds us that these cruel men grabbed onto and plucked His beard. We all can imagine how much pain this caused Jesus, but again He willingly suffered this great humiliation!
6. CROWNING WITH THORNS. One of the torturers had an insidious and diabolic idea: given that Jesus was proclaimed King, why not give Him a crown??? Not a royal crown made of gold, but a derisive, mocking, and insulting crown made of thorns.
7. WEAVING A CROWN. Therefore, thorns were taken from nearby thorn-bushes and woven into a crown for a mock-ceremony. The crown resembled the form of a crown, but it was a cruel crown of thorns.
8. THE PAINFUL CROWNING. Then the painful and humiliating ceremony took place. With insults and the utmost cruelty, the torturers pressed the crown of thorns on the Sacred Head of Jesus. In the film of Gibson, The Passion of the Christ, Jesus is insultingly proclaimed: Hail, King of the worms! In all of this Jesus, the gentle lamb of God being led to the slaughter, remained silent.
9. PRECIOUS BLOOD ISSUES FORTH. As sharp and penetrating thorns were driven deep into the skull of Jesus, His Blood issued forth—oozing forth with drops dripping to the ground. Amidst this torture, the men that surrounded Jesus laughed and mocked Him. The words that spewed forth from their mouths caused Him as much pain as the thorns that pierced His Sacred Brow.
10. BOWING DOWN AND GENUFLECTING. Mocking Jesus as King, the torturers now took their turns to bow and genuflect to Him as the Mock-King. In all of this Jesus willingly accepted these humiliations as the will of the eternal Father, endured for love of us and our salvation.
11. STICK IN THE FORM OF A SCEPTER. Then, once again humiliating Jesus as a mock-king, they found a stick, struck Jesus over the head with the stick, then placed it in His hands. This is the way they treated The King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.
12. SPAT IN HIS SACRED FACE. To intensify His sufferings and humiliations, the torturers proceeded with one of the most humiliating actions that can be done to a human person—they proceeded to spit in His Face.
13. BLINDFOLDED JESUS. The mockery continued with renewed insults; now it was time to find a cloth and cover Jesus’ eyes, thereby blinding Him. He who gave sight to the blind and is the Light of the world was Himself made blind. Insults, mockeries, and deprecations descended upon Him. Yet in all this, Jesus was silent.
14. PUNCHES, SLAPS, BLOWS, AND SPITTING—Still more do they punch Jesus, strike Him on the face, spit on Him, pull at His beard, and make sport of Him.
15. EXTENSION OF TIME. These humiliations—and there were many more—went on the whole night from Holy Thursday into Good Friday morning. Long, cruel, tortuous hours; all endured for love of you and me, and to teach us the superb lesson of humility!
In conclusion, for us to grow in the virtue of humility, the royal path is through humiliations. None of us will suffer the intensity and atrocity of the humiliations that Jesus went through for us. However, when you are visited by any form, type, size, or color of humiliation, do not waste it! Rather think of the sufferings and humiliations that Jesus underwent for your salvation, and unite your sufferings to His for your conversion, your sanctification, and the salvation of the whole world. For the sake of His sorrowful and humiliating passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world!