Oct 30, 2022 filed under Humility.

Woman pondering humility

When my grandmother Rose burned a pan of cookies, she looked up to heaven and said, “Aren’t I humble enough yet?” She was, in fact, very humble, and yet accepted every setback as a gift from God that was making her more holy.

Humility is a gift
Maybe the last couple of years haven’t exactly felt like a gift. We’ve been made to step back and realize we weren’t as in control of our lives as we imagined. And we’ve been made face our total dependence on God and his mercy.

Maybe it’s a good time to look again at the virtue of humility to unpack the advantages it gives us in being closer to God.

What humility isn’t and what it is
It isn’t being a doormat. It isn’t putting ourselves down. It isn’t pretending we don’t have talents. Humility is simply seeing ourselves as God sees us — dependent on him, yes, and also filled with his power to do good. A humble person prays to have her weaknesses made strong and thanks God for her talents and uses them to build up God’s kingdom on earth.

Advice from an expert
And who better to get pointers on humility from than a saint? Mother Teresa listed 15 ways to be humble that she and her sisters lived by. I ran across them in an article by Patti Armstrong, and share them with you, each with my commentary.

While she was head of the Missionaries of Charity, Mother Teresa kept a list of ways to cultivate humility for the sisters in her care.

  1. Speak as little as possible about yourself.
    I’ve noticed that to do this I need to think as little as possible about myself.
  2. Keep busy with your own affairs and not those of others.
    Of course, we have to blend our affairs with others all the time. But am I too often expecting others to do things my way or think of things from my perspective?
  3. Avoid curiosity (she is referring to wanting to know things that should not concern us).
    How many thoughts do I have during the day about others’ private affairs?
  4. Do not interfere in the affairs of others.
    Being aware of #3 can help a lot with this.
  5.  Accept small irritations with good humor.
    Okay, accept big ones with good humor, too. But starting  with the smalls helps us build the all-important virtue of patience.
  6.  Do not dwell on the faults of others.
    Notice how many of these relate to each other? If we’re not expecting others to do things our way, and don’t get involved in their business, we’ll be less concerned with their faults. Spending less attention on the others’ faults means more attention to my own.
  7. Accept censures even if unmerited. 
    “Bear wrongs patiently” is the fourth Spiritual Work of Mercy.
  8. Give in to the will of others.
    Ouch. Letting others do things their way is one thing, but giving up my way? Yes, Lord. I know that when I let others have their way, especially if I have prayed about it, I will have more peace.
  9. Accept insults and injuries.
    This would be the fifth spiritual work of mercy. It means not retaliating, but instead bringing our grievances to God — to suffer with him in his unjust torment. A big exception to this, of course, is if someone is actually abusing us. The confidential hotline for domestic violence is 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or visit https://www.thehotline.org/help/
  10. Accept contempt, being forgotten and disregarded.
    Are these getting harder as they go on? Uniting with Jesus in his humiliation is the only way to do this.
  11. Be courteous and delicate even when provoked by someone.
    Forgive them Lord, for they know not what they do. When I hurt someone, did I mean to do it or was I just protecting myself from something? It’s surprising how often hurtful behavior comes from just protecting an old wound. Let me offer others the same compassion and speedy forgiveness I have for myself.
  12. Do not seek to be admired and loved.
    This is a supernatural gift — God, help me to spend my energy in what pleases you instead of those around me.
  13. Do not protect yourself behind your own dignity.
    My dignity is given by God and cannot be taken away. Because of this, I can let things go, trusting that God is directing the situation.
  14. Give in, in discussions, even when you are right.
    This requires the virtue of prudence, letting us do this in the right situations. But when only our ego is at stake, yes, let me be the loser of the argument so as to stand with the humiliated Christ, Victor over sin and death.
  15. Choose always the more difficult task.
    A good practice to strengthen our virtue muscles. Doing the hardest thing on our to-do list first. Volunteering to do a disagreeable job and no one wants in union with Christ, who never did his human will but that of God.

The Power of Humility

“It was pride that changed angels into devils; it is humility that makes men as angels.” —Saint Augustine


Mother Teresa called humility the mother of all virtues.  She said: “If you are humble nothing will touch you, neither praise nor disgrace, because you know what you are. If you are blamed you will not be discouraged. If they call you a saint you will not put yourself on a pedestal.”



22 Responses to “When Humility “Happens” to Us”

  1. Patricia Weems

    At my age (64), I have slowly learned most of these lessons. The one that I think sums it all up is: Yes, Lord. I know that when I let others have their way, especially if I have prayed about it, I will have more peace.

    But what really hits home is:
    “It was pride that changed angels into devils; it is humility that makes men as angels.” —Saint Augustine

  2. Esther Davis

    Thanks Rose, I am printing this out as a reminder for when I need it for each item, as the need comes along day by day.
    God bless you,


  3. Donna

    Thank you Rose for this all too important reminder. This list will find its way to my wall at home & work for I need to read this daily.
    Thank you & May God Bless your ministry.

  4. Janet Laird

    Thank you, Rose. These are very helpful reminders and will help me with a particular fault I’m praying about.

  5. Judi Wiktor

    Thanks for sharing this with us.
    So beautiful, so true.
    I need it on a advertisement board in my living room!!!
    God bless you,


    Nov. 6th, 2022

  6. Sabine Paul

    Thank you for continuing to encourage us on our spiritual journey. This is timely for me and timeless. Enjoy your time with your family.

  7. Beverly

    Thank you Rose for this inspirational reminder that Humility is a gift from God and the Power of Humility.
    I will keep this reflection close at hand.

  8. Mary

    I pray to be humble and patient… it’s so hard to stay in the moment and not be me..me…me. Others first.. I will pray to be humble and patient

  9. Nancy Scimone

    Thank You 🌹 Rose!! These cover a multitude of life’s challenges!

  10. Maria

    Thank you Rose
    All you do for us is so inspirational.. I will print this and share with family and friends. Humility is a great virtue. God bless you and family.

  11. Judith

    Thank you! I have been praying to be humbled. Much to think about, much to work on. The hardest one for me is not striving to be loved.

  12. Susan

    I provoked by my son in front of his children when they refused to make the sign of the cross before saying our grace at dinner.
    I blew up when he did not ask them to pray with their grandparents I know he also provoked me when he left our home and took his children home.
    Should I have let this heart breaking situation go without addressing my son? Should I pray for prudence in this situation?

    • Maureen Fink

      I have similar situations with my children. Heartbreaking is an understatement for what it feels like. It is the anger which is hard to control. I think it is right to give example, explain the concern and ask the grandchildren if they are willing to pray. Their parents are very aware of their rights and there is no way to control the outcome. God knows what we are going through. God will answer our prayers eventually. God bless you and all your family!!!

  13. Sharon G Witzell

    Thank you Rose, very helpful for me today. I keep thinking I’m humble, but there are some on this list I still need to work on to get there!

  14. Lucy Edwards

    Thank you for for this humble prayer, I will definitely copy this and cherish it with others and grandchildren.

    Thank you for sharing,

  15. Tina

    Thank you for sharing these. A true treasure to keep and reflect on frequently

  16. Debbie

    Hi Rose,
    I am definitely posting this up on my fridge for myself as a reminder of HUMILITY and to live by it.
    Have a great time at your family reunion, I look for to seeing your pictures, as always.

  17. Helen

    Thank for Rose. These are beautiful rules to live by every day. I will print this out and keep it where I can see it.

  18. Tom Roberts

    I knew your grandmother Rose and she was indeed a woman of humility. Burned cookies were only a failure in her eyes. I love burned cookies.