The Litany of Humility

Hello, my name is Lyn and I have a problem with pride.

I wasn’t even really aware of the extent of my pride troubles, until I stumbled upon a prayer written by Rafael Cardinal Merry de Val (1865-1930), the Secretary of State for Pope Saint Pius X.

It goes like this:

O Jesus! meek and humble of heart, Hear me.

From the desire of being esteemed…Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being loved…Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being extolled…Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being honored…Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being praised…Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being preferred to others…Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being consulted…Deliver me, Jesus
From the desire of being approved…Deliver me, Jesus

From the fear of being humiliated…Deliver me, Jesus
From the fear of being despised…Deliver me, Jesus
From the fear of suffering rebukes…Deliver me, Jesus
From the fear of being calumniated…Deliver me, Jesus
From the fear of being forgotten…Deliver me, Jesus
From the fear of being ridiculed…Deliver me, Jesus
From the fear of being wronged…Deliver me, Jesus
From the fear of being suspected…Deliver me, Jesus

That others may be loved more than I…Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be esteemed more than I…Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That, in the opinion of the world,others may increase and I may decrease
…Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be chosen and I set aside…Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be praised and I unnoticed…Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be preferred to me in everything…Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

I don’t know about you, but this prayer, honestly prayed out loud, sincerely from the heart…is painful for me.  It uncovers a deep root system of pride and offense from many years prior, and exposes tangled vines laden with bitter fruit in my thought processes, words, and actions.  And when I say pride, I don’t mean the heart-swelling feeling I have when I look at my children and grandchildren, or the sense of joy I have when I acknowledge and celebrate their accomplishments…I’m talking the deadly sin of pride;

the kind that is always looking out for number one, vying to be acknowledged, crushed when not affirmed by others;

angry pride that jumps to conclusions and lashes out before listening;

pride that whispers in the quiet darkness with self pitying consolation,

pride that rehearses future conversations or confrontations with my offender;

The protective, insulating or isolating pride that seeks to surround itself only with people who agree with me; the kind that prefers to be alone rather than to resolve a conflict that separates me from a healthy, beneficial community;

the Pharisaical  pride that puts down, belittles or scoffs at another in order to make myself look/feel better.

Deliver me Jesus.

For every vice, there is a virtue.  Humility is the opposite of pride, and if we want to be like Jesus, we need to imitate the humility that He possessed.  The humility that puts the needs of another before our own; that lays down it’s life;

humility that is open, and risks being vulnerable to show love and forgiveness to an enemy…or friend…or family member;

humility that looks deeper than the surface, to find the heart of a person without being turned away by how they look, or act, or maybe even smell;

humility that keeps seeking resolution and unity, even in the face of misunderstanding and false accusations;

humility that rejoices with others who are rejoicing, and is not too shy or proud to weep with those who weep;

humility that listens before coming to a conclusion; that follows 1 Corinthians and thinks no evil, does not keep a record of wrongs, and believes, hopes, and endures all things.

Give me the grace to desire it.

I love that this phrase is in the prayer.  If it wasn’t, I would never even think to ask God to help me desire humility.  In our self absorbed society, humility and other virtues are not sought after, really, not even thought on.  Putting myself last is not at the forefront of my thoughts, because it does not come natural to the flesh.  So, not only do  I not naturally think about humility, but when confronted with my need for it, I don’t want to even think about it, let alone try to figure out how to develop it.  This prayer addresses that dilemma, by asking even for the grace to desire humility. And I believe God answers when we ask, and gives us a desire for His virtues, His ways, and His will.

It’s no surprise, then, that the prayer begins with the cry to the One who modeled this virtue for us in His life on earth.

Oh Jesus, meek and humble of heart, hear me!

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Baltimore Catechism Lesson 3

LESSON THIRD: ON THE UNITY AND TRINITY OF GOD

21. Q. Is there but one God?

A. Yes; there is but one God.

22. Q. Why can there be but one God?

A. There can be but one God, because God, being supreme and infinite, cannot have an equal.

23. Q. How many Persons are there in God?

A. In God there are three Divine Persons, really distinct, and equal in all things-the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.

24. Q. Is the Father God?

A. The Father is God and the first Person of the Blessed Trinity.

25. Q. Is the Son God?

A. The Son is God and the second Person of the Blessed Trinity.

26. Q. Is the Holy Ghost God?

A. The Holy Ghost is God and the third Person of the Blessed Trinity.

27. Q. What do you mean by the Blessed Trinity?

A. By the Blessed Trinity I mean one God in three Divine Persons.

28. Q. Are the three Divine Persons equal in all things?

A. The three Divine Persons are equal in all things.

29. Q. Are the three Divine Persons one and the same God?

A. The three Divine Persons are one and the same God, having one and the same Divine nature and substance.

30. Q. Can we fully understand how the three Divine Persons are one and the same God?

A. We cannot fully understand how the three Divine Persons are one and the same God, because this is a mystery.

31. Q. What is a mystery?

A.   A mystery is a truth which we cannot fully understand.

Ask, and you shall receive

Talking to my daughter today reminded me of this post. I’m still saying Amen and expecting the answer immediately. Practice makes perfect.

New Things

I asked God to teach me patience.  He did.  He is.  I have been continually waiting since I prayed that prayer.  Patience doesn’t come immediately after the “amen”, it comes after trial, and test, and time…sometimes lots of time.

I asked God to give me strength and endurance.  He did.  He is.  I’ve never been through so rigorous a workout, never been so bone tired.  Strength and endurance do not come immediately after the “amen”, they come from stretching and breaking tissue that will heal and rebuild itself, making itself stronger.  They come from consistently running longer and more rigorous trails; through hills and valleys, along stretches that seem to have no end, then “just a little farther”, pushing past the breaking point and beyond.

I asked to be able to love as He does.  I asked for peace.  I asked for joy.  He answered my requests by surrounding me…

View original post 53 more words

Baltimore Catechism Lesson 2

LESSON SECOND: ON GOD AND HIS PERFECTIONS

13. Q. What is God?

A. God is a spirit infinitely perfect.

14. Q. Had God a beginning

A. God had no beginning; He always was and He always will be.

15. Q. Where is God?

A. God is everywhere.

16. Q. If God is everywhere, why do we not see Him?

A. We do not see God, because He is a pure spirit and cannot be seen with bodily eyes.

17. Q. Does God see us?

A. God sees us and watches over us.

18. Q. Does God know all things?

A. God knows all things, even our most secret thoughts, words, and actions.

19. Q. Can God do all things?

A. God can do all things, and nothing is hard or impossible to Him.

20. Q. Is God just, holy, and merciful?

God is all just, all holy, all merciful, as He is infinitely perfect.

I’ve been nominated for a major award

Well, it’s major to me…I’ve been nominated for the Liebster Award.

Thank you, Kat  and SR for nominating me with such amazing complimentary words.  I have come to appreciate both of these blogs, but even more so, the authors themselves, who seem to have a gift for speaking apt words in due season that nourish and encourage my spirit.

Here are the rules for participating with this major award!

1.  Post the Liebster award graphic on your site.

2.  Thank the blogger who nominated the blog for the Liebster Award and link back to their blog.

3.  The blogger then writes 11 facts about themselves so people who discover their blog through the Liebster post will learn more about them.

4.  In addition to posting 11 fun facts about themselves, nominated bloggers should also answer the 11 questions from the post of the person who nominated them.

5.  The nominated blogger will in turn, nominate 9 other blogs with 200 or less followers.

6.  The nominated blogger will create 11 questions for their nominated blogs to answer in their Liebster post.

Okay, so here are 11 facts about me.

1.  As a child, I saw angels.  When I was older, my mom told me she had a hard time believing my stories at first, but I was only three, and she wondered how I could have made it up and not changed my story.  I didn’t.  I’ve seen them since, and I know they’ve protected me on more than one occasion.

2.  I went to school to be a legal secretary, but have never worked in that field.

3.  I’ve lived in two countries and seven states/provinces.

4.  I’ve been married to the same man for 25 years.

5.  I eat too much, sleep too little, and exercise sporadically.

6.  I am a terrible texter…auto-correct ain’t got nothin’ on me!  I will press through for the sake of my husband and my kids, (who laugh at my blunders) but I don’t love anyone else as much as I love them, so the rest of you are out of luck.

7.  I have four children here on earth, and a couple in heaven.  I wonder about those two often, and imagine how life would have been with them here.  I miscarried them both within the first trimester.

8.  I have a seizure disorder.  In Texas, it’s named “epilepsy”, and in Idaho, simply a “disorder”.  I haven’t had a seizure since 2007, and seem to have them at the same rate, whether medicated or not.  I am careful with my triggers, and listen to what my body is telling me.

9.  I need coffee, but drink much less than I did ten years ago.  I’m down to 2 cups a day max.  I’m working on getting that down to one cup a day.  My biggest obstacle is I enjoy it so much!

10.  I hated history in school, and find myself interested in it now.  I wish I’d have had a teacher that sparked an interest when I was young, how much I missed!

11.  I am a proud Grammy.  I have three granddaughters, and two grandsons both due to be born next month.  My cup is overflowing!

Answers to Kat’s questions for me:

What is the best book you have ever read?  The Hiding Place, by Corrie TenBoom.  It’s been years, but I still remember the pictures she painted with her words about the horrors of the Holocaust and the beauty of forgiveness. 

Do you have a home altar, and what is it like?  No.  This is something that I plan to do once we are settled somewhere.  I have been collecting ideas and have a picture in my mind of how I want it to look.

Which Scripture passage touches you the most deeply?  I have several…Isaiah 53, Proverbs 31, Psalm 91…too many to count, but those are three of the top.

What is your favorite quote, Biblical or otherwise?  Again…I collect quotes, I have so many.  One that has been ringing in my ears lately is from Job…God is questioning Job’s attempt at counseling Him…”where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?”  And Job’s answer two or three chapters later (I can so relate!) “I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.  ‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’ Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.”

Do you give money to panhandlers with cardboard signs standing on street corners?  Sometimes. 

What was the best vacation you have ever taken?  A surprise vacation to Washington State when I was about 12 or 13.  My parents told us we were going on a picnic, and they “missed their turn”.  We visited the Yakima Indian Mission where my Dad had ministered years prior. 

Are you a cat person or a dog person?  Neither.  I don’t mind other people’s animals, but am not eager to have that responsibility for myself.  If I had to choose, I’d choose a cat…as long as he/she did their business outside and I didn’t have to maintain a litter box.

How long have you been blogging, and why did you start?  I have been blogging off and on since 2005.  This blog turned two last month.  I started blogging the first time while caring for my terminally ill parents in 2005.  I lost almost all the content from that blog when we lost our server.  I did not have it backed up, but thankfully had emailed some of the best stuff there and was able to retrieve it from my sent email file. 

Are there icons in your parish church?  I’m sure there are, but I am not there long enough to notice them.

And, here are my answers to SR’s questions:

1.  Do you have any pets?  My daughter has a dog; she is 1/2 American Bulldog and 1/2 Catahula.

2.  Do you live in the country or city?  Neither, I live in a small (very very small) town.

3.  What is your favorite hobby?  Hm.  Reading.  No, blogging.  No, wait…cooking.  No…gardening…I don’t think I have a favorite, I like all of these the same.

4.  What do you get out of blogging?  Lots.  Mostly, I use blogging as a way to process my thoughts.  I am a verbal person, and can’t just think quietly…and I get myself in loads of trouble (and lose all my friends) if I process out loud, so writing is a way for me to figure out what I really think and believe, (without actually talking out loud to myself and causing people to worry about my sanity) and firm up my opinions without isolating myself completely.

5.  Do you like indoors or outdoors?  Yes.  I especially enjoy indoors when it’s too hot or cold to play outdoors.  I enjoy being outdoors when the weather is temperate.

6.  Do you like your own company, and if so why?  More and more all the time.  I get me.  I have come a long way, and I actually “like” myself most days.  I can say anything to myself, and I understand exactly what I mean, and I am never offended at myself.  I am learning to be my own best friend.

7.  If someone took your computer away and you could never have one again, would it throw you into despair?  “To despair is to turn your back on God”, but I would be seriously bummed until you told me you were only testing me!

8.  Do you text message while driving? No.  I can barely carry on a verbal conversation while driving.  I don’t text, or talk on the phone while I drive.

9.  Do you like to read?  Yes, ever since learning how to.

10.  What is your favorite place to go and eat?  La Casa Lopez in Moscow, Idaho.

11.  If you could do one thing to make the world a better place to live, what would it be?  Effectively teach and train people in 1 Thessalonians 4:11.

My nominations:

1.  Annie has a sweet blog where she talks about God’s love and care through her own medical issues.  She writes with such a sweet spirit and love for the Lord, I had to nominate her.  Check out Dyslexic Chic and tell me if you don’t agree.

2.  Heidi shares the ups and downs of life, and focuses on the positive.  God has blessed me on more than a few occasions with her insight and optimistic faith in Him, even when we don’t understand.  Find out for yourself over at Heidi Girl.

3.  Laurie has a family recipe blog.  Check her out at Laurie’s Kitchen.

4.  Pennies and Pancakes—another good blog for recipes, with a focus on frugality.  My two favorite subjects!

5.  Charity has a thoughtful, encouraging blog, where she shares her writings and words of hope for hurting people.  She is working on part two to a short story, you can read it at A New Hope Through Christ.

6.  Kathy at To Talk of Many Things has been blogging for ten years.  I love her matter-of-fact style, and have learned so much from her about parenting, teaching, and Christ-following.

7.  Pilgrim Chronicle is a blog that Kevin started to answer questions posed by family and friends about his new Catholic faith.  I love his style, and have learned so much from him.  He’s been my greatest encouragement in my own blogging, and helps me find words when they elude me.  He’s put up with me for over 25 years, I think he deserves this major award more than I do.

8.  Sylvia at Christian Homekeeper writes about simple living, Titus 2 and Proverbs 31, Keeping house, cooking, gardening, and old fashioned skills.  She has a wealth of knowledge and information, and I have enjoyed her sweet spirit for more than a decade now.  Bookmark her site, there is always something new to learn at Christian Homekeeper.

9.  Catholic Cuisine has recipes for celebrating the feasts and seasons of the liturgical year.  I love it!

Okay…now for my questions for you nominees to answer:

1.  When’s the last time you stepped out of your comfort zone and obeyed God when it didn’t make (earthly, human) sense to do so?

2.  What’s your favorite healthy snack?  Will you share a recipe?

3.  Give me a tip for keeping my electric bill down in the summer.

4.  Will you share your conversion story?

5.  How did you meet your significant other?

6.  What’s your greatest accomplishment?

7.  What’s your greatest fear?

8.  What is  your most significant loss?

9.  You have both money and time to spare.  You can do anything you want to do…what will you do with it?

10.  Are you a Bible marker?  Do you write in your Bible, or prefer to keep it unmarked?

11.  Share your top 3 favorite Bible passages/verses/lessons.

By New Things Posted in Awards

Just For Today, Lord

Last March, I copied this prayer into my little prayer book that I carried with me everywhere…I’m not sure where I found it, or who initially wrote it, but it was so good, in my own prayer time, my heart echoed it’s cry.  I hope it blesses you as much as it did me.  And, if you know who I can credit, please share.

Lord, for tomorrow and its needs, I do not pray; 
Keep me, my god from stain of sin, just for today.
 
Let me both diligently work, and duly pray;
Let me kind in word and deed, just for today.
 
Let me be slow to do my will and prompt to obey;
Help me to mortify my flesh, just for today.
 
Let me no wrong or idle word unthinking say;
Set a seal upon my lips, just for today.
 
Let me in season, LORD, be grave, in season, gay
Let me be faithful to your grace, just for today.
 
And if today, my tide of life should ebb away,
Give me your sacraments divine, LORD, today.
 
So for tomorrow and its needs I do not pray.
But keep me, guide me, love me, LORD.  Just for today.
By New Things Posted in Poetry

Our Hoop-jumping, Test-taking, Faith-testing Day

My daughter and my sister’s daughter have been studying to get their GEDs, and their big test was today.

An hour’s drive from here.

At 7:30 AM.

Two weeks ago, we drove to the Community College’s campus to register for this test.  I have never seen and jumped through so many stinkin’ hoops in my life…even getting married was easier and less stressful than this.

There were extra hoops for us because our daughters were homeschooled.  Which, in this state come with regulations that were different than the ones in our Idaho that we are used to…regulations that I did not have the money for, and did not comply with.  My daughter in essence was a “drop out” from last year when we were in Canada.  They finally accepted a statement from us that she had not been enrolled in a cover school in this state, and last attended school in Canada, and was disenrolled at stated date.  We had been told her passport would be sufficient for ID, until the actual registration, when a different official informed us that we would need a state ID.  She does not drive yet, and getting GED took priority over driving permit, it’s just where we were.  So, we were given a grace period of 24 hours to get a state ID, which we did the following day.

WHEW!  We breathed a sigh of relief, and began cramming for the test…rejoicing that the hoop jumping days were DONE, woohoo!  party time!

NOT.

Today, we woke up at 0’dark:30 to drive an hour to the testing site.  We dropped girls off, and reclined the seats in the car to make ourselves as comfortable as possible while we waited for them to take their test.  My sister had just suggested driving down to the river to sit, when her phone rang.  It was her daughter informing her that they were requiring her to show her Social Security Card and her ID to be able to test.  We went in, and were taken by surprise when we were informed that per instructions on the paper we had been given two weeks ago (which neither of us received, nor were instructed about), the girls could not take the GED if they did not have their SS cards.  Because I am a disorganized procrastinator, I still had all of Kristin’s papers and documents with me in my purse from last week, so I pulled out her SS card and gave it to her.  She took off to take her test.

Her cousin didn’t fare as well, and was told that she could not take the math portion of the test today, but could take the rest if we drove all the way back home, and could produce the SS card before the start of the next test.

Shock gave way to disbelief, then to disappointment, anger and hot tears.

It still makes no sense.  We provided ALL of this two weeks ago, the same people saw us, took our information, made copies, processed us in to this registration…they knew us there, we had been a memorable group from the get-go.  But, rules are rules, they don’t make ’em, they just have to abide by them, I get it…I do…it was just all so…complicated and messy.

We were in the process of gathering ourselves together to drive back to my sister’s place and retrieve her daughter’s S.S. card, when we realized the car battery was dead.  Another complication.  The security officer on duty came over to give us a jump, and just as we were venting and wondering what else could possibly happen to this day, the sweet front desk lady approached our car.  She offered her sincere apologies for the misunderstanding and asked if she could pray with us.  She offered the sweetest prayer, turning our hearts and minds off of this earthly mess, and onto God, and  His ability to work even frustrating, complicated, messy things into something good and beautiful.  When she was done, the security officer told her he had the same thought to come and pray, and was glad that she had done it.  He assured us that the rest of the test could be taken today, and they were going to take good care of us when we got back.  Her prayer for peace over us was answered immediately, the car started, and we were on our way.

On the way, we vented some more, lamented our plight, and wondered aloud what in the world God could bring from this day to call good.  We encouraged one another, in this lifelong journey of faith that we are on, and marveled that just the time we think we’ve arrived, the test gets harder, and again, we are reminded to look to God for His help and perspective.  We made it safely to my sister’s place, retrieved the card, and made it back to the campus in one piece.

My sister’s daughter took all of the test except for the Math portion.  She was informed of another campus two hours away that test every week, on Thursday.  She was offered the opportunity to take the Math portion this week if she wished to, with no need for further hoops, except for the most important one, to bring her SS card and ID to show at the testing site.

While the girls were finishing up, my sis and I stopped at Walmart and bought two cards and two boxes of chocolates for our Christian friends who prayed for us today.  We all signed the cards, thanking them for their patience, optimism, and faith, and helping us bear our burdens today…and went inside to deliver them to the recipients.

What I learned today:

I have not arrived.  Not by a long shot.

God is the God of hoops and tests, and LOVES to test us on what we think we know.

Two are better than one.  If one falls down, there is one to help her up.

Our kids are so far advanced in the faith department than I ever was at their age.  They have a perspective and simplicity to their trust in God that I admire, and learn from.