Catholic Commute S02E19 The Value of Humiliations

Although tough, they're also essential

Nobody enjoys being humiliated, yet that is one of the surest paths to finding humility.  Still, even though in the abstract it sounds like it might be a good thing, it’s a big leap to see true value.  When we are snubbed or screw up where all can see, it’s hard!  Yet, those moments are sometimes the ones where we can gain a great deal of good if we are open.

In this episode I discuss 5 reasons why humiliations are good things.  Given the right perspective, we can really grow from them.  Perhaps you have been humiliated recently.  Even if not, it’s a safe bet to say they are coming!  I hope you find some help and meaning in whatever stage you are currently in from this discussion.

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S02E19 The Value of Humiliations


Patron Saint: St. Fiacre of Breuil.  Patron saint of Hemroids and venereal disease sufferers.  Died in 670AD


St. Fiacre (Fiachra) is not mentioned in the earlier Irish calendars, but it is said that he was born in Ireland and that he sailed over into France in quest of closer solitude, in which he might devote himself to God, unknown to the world. He arrived at Meaux, where Saint Faro, who was the bishop of that city, gave him a solitary dwelling in a forest which was his own patrimony, called Breuil, in the province of Brie. There is a legend that St. Faro offered him as much land as he could turn up in a day, and that St. Fiacre, instead of driving his furrow with a plough, turned the top of the soil with the point of his staff. The anchorite cleared the ground of trees and briers, made himself a cell with a garden, built an oratory in honor of the Blessed Virgin, and made a hospice for travelers which developed into the village of Saint-Fiacre in Seine-et-Marne. Many resorted to him for advice, and the poor, for relief. His charity moved him to attend cheerfully those that came to consult him; and in his hospice he entertained all comers, serving them with his own hands, and sometimes miraculously restored to health those that were sick. He never allowed any woman to enter the enclosure of his hermitage, and Saint Fiacre extended the prohibition even to his chapel; several rather ill-natured legends profess to account for it.


The fame of Saint Fiacre’s miracles of healing continued after his death and crowds visited his shrine for centuries. He is also a patron saint of gardeners and of cab-drivers of Paris. French cabs are called fiacres because the first establishment to let coaches on hire, in the middle of the seventeenth century, was in the Rue Saint-Martin, near the hotel Saint-Fiacre, in Paris. Saint Fiacre’s feast is kept in some dioceses of France, and throughout Ireland on this date. Many miracles were claimed through his working the land and interceding for others. Feast day is September 1st.


  1. True connection comes via weaknesses
    1. We think we impress people and make friends via our strengths.  We don’t.
    2. Matthew Kelly, 7 levels of intimacy
    3. 4 – Hopes and Dreams
    4. 5 – Feelings
    5. 6 – fears faults and failures
    6. 7 – legitimate needs
    7. Intimacy isn’t sex.  It’s me revealing myself – who I really truly am – to you, and you doing the same
    8. We’ve lost sight of the meaning of intimacy, and thus lose our connections
    9. Want to really connect with your wife?  Admit where you’ve failed and are suffering.
  2. Personal growth comes from honesty
    1. Joke about doctor cutting off wrong foot.
    2. If you aren’t honest, you cannot solve the problem.
    3. Emperor’s new clothes
    4. We are all deeply broken people.  This isn’t debatable
    5. When we admit our weaknesses, we can start to grow.  If we ignore them, we set ourselves up for a fall.
    6. Imagine a king who had no infantry going to battle, and trying to pretend that he had them.
    7. When we admit we need help, we are open to receiving it – whether from book or person or wherever
  3. We forgive others more easily
    1. I find it much easier to forgive others of their mistakes when I am honest about my own.
    2. Man forgiven 10,000 talents had forgotten how big his debt had been when he convicted the men owing 100 denarii.  
    3. 1 Timothy 1:15-16 The saying is sure and worthy of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the foremost. 16 But for that very reason I received mercy, so that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display the utmost patience, making me an example to those who would come to believe in him for eternal life.
    4. We are always too eager to make excuses for ourselves.  Humiliations rob us of that opportunity. We are then forced to make the same plea for forgiveness which we are so eager to deny in others.
    5. Humiliations also allow us to more easily accept forgiveness.
  4. We see God’s work in our own lives
    1. Discussion about my anger.
    2. Breaks our pride.  When we see our own brokenness, we cannot pretend like we have it all figured out.
    3. Over time, I have realized just how very little I can do on my own.
    4. “Theology for the laity” by Fr. Paul Duffner. “One who is a non-believer and without sanctifying grace, can do nothing of himself to receive that divine gift. Of his own natural powers alone he can do nothing to prepare his soul for grace. God must take the initiative by means of actual grace which precedes the act of the will on the part of man. “No one can come to Me,” said our Divine Savior, “unless the Father . . . draw him.” (Jn. 6:44) With the help of that initial grace, however, man can prepare himself to receive sanctifying grace. As Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange explains, that initial grace “first enlightens the intellect, then touches the will and causes a sudden desire for the object proposed through the representation of the intellect, and this is the inspiration that ‘opens the heart’ as the heart of Lydia was opened to attend to the things said by St. Paul.” (Acts 16:14)”
    5. To admit how badly we need God’s help is fundamentally embarrassing.
  5. Our Lord says it is necessary
    1. Matthew 5 – the beatitudes
    2. Story about Life of Ben
    3. When Jesus[a] saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. 2 Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:

      3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

      4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

      5 “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

      6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

      7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.

      8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

      9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

      10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
    4. Matthew 9:14 Then the disciples of John came to him, saying, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast often,[c] but your disciples do not fast?” 15 And Jesus said to them, “The wedding guests cannot mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them, can they? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.


  1. True connection comes via weaknesses
  2. Personal growth comes from honesty
  3. We forgive others more easily
  4. We see God’s work in our own lives
  5. Our Lord says it is necessary

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