Humilis – The Dirty Truth

Featured Image: “Earth,” © amydykstra (own work), Mar 2012. CC BY-ND 2.0. (license)

“Be humble towards God and gentle with your neighbor. Judge and accuse no one but yourself, and ever excuse others. Speak of God always to praise and glorify Him, speak of your neighbor only with respect – do not speak of yourself at all, either well or ill.”

~ St. Margaret Mary Alacoque

Did you know that the origin of the word “humility” comes from the Latin word for earth? As in dirt. Ground. Humilis… humilitas… to be close to the ground. To know one’s place. To be firmly rooted in a reality of self. In preparation for a blog post that I was intending to write, I stumbled upon the above quote by St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, the patroness of my childhood parish. After reading her words, I abandoned my mental outlines. Do I know the truth about my weaknesses and appreciate the source and limitations of my strengths? Do I possess a healthy understanding of my nothingness? Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. It would seem that those questions are better meditated upon in private. Thus, instead of my typical soul-searching post, I leave you to reflect on her advice for yourself. Before I go, so that we all might have a little something to smile about today, here is one final pearl of wisdom.

“Humility is like underwear; essential, but indecent if it shows.”

~ Helen Nielsen

Ground squirrel in the grass
Ground squirrel in the grass,” © Paul Gorbould (own work), July 2014. CC BY-NC-ND 2.0. (license)

22 thoughts on “Humilis – The Dirty Truth

  1. St Margaret Mary was the patroness of my childhood parish too. I love the quotes and I am sitting here in quiet reflection. I’ve been very judgmental lately. Not a becoming trait. The timing of your post is perfect. It makes me realize I need to change.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Jill! Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment. Isn’t it remarkable that your childhood parish was also St. Margaret Mary? It seems like there are some saints whose names come up again and again, and probably for good reason. We can learn much from them. But you are only the second person I know who went to a church named for St. Margaret Mary, and I still know very little about her. It makes me curious to explore what else I might learn from her life.

      As for judging, we all do it. I think that those who claim not to judge just don’t know themselves very well (that might be a bit presumptive and judgmental of me). In my better moments, I recognize that I will probably never overcome being judgmental, but recognizing in-the-moment when and how I am judging allows me to choose to think and act differently. If I can bring mindfulness to my judgmental side, then I can decide not to believe my thoughts, and my judgments don’t lead me down a path of automatic, stereotyped responses. Like I said – that’s in my better moments. Those moments are sometimes few and far between. What I’m trying to say through all of this is – don’t be too hard on yourself. The fact that you want to be better shows that your heart is already in the right place.


      1. The St. Margaret Mary connection is serendipity. I went to school there Kindergarten through 8th and worshiped there every Sunday until I married and moved parishes. The church community was like Cheers. Being where everybody knows your name. Lifelong relationships were formed there.

        You’re very kind. I love the idea of bringing mindfulness to my judgmental side. I can start practicing that today.


  2. Wonderful post, Lulu! Very interesting about humility coming from the Latin word for earth. Makes total sense (I had a kind of an ‘aha’ moment!) That’s always been such an important trait to me… for myself to have, and those close to me. To be grounded, down to earth, humble. Love the quotes! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for such a thought-provoking post. “– do not speak of yourself at all, either well or ill.” How many of us have never considered this? How difficult a task it seems to be.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. An interesting and well written post, thanks for sharing. As a linguist, I particularly enjoyed the explanation of the roots of the word ‘humility’. I have just started a poetry blog here on WordPress in case you have time to look? Have a good day, Sam 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Sam! Thanks so much for the feedback. I’m glad that you enjoyed the post. You have quite the beautiful site! Good luck with your poetry pursuits. 🙂


    1. Hi Jenny! Thank you so much for checking in! I just published an update with a couple pics from my Paris trip. I hope you’re well. All is going great here. YAY for summer!

      Liked by 1 person

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