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!

Advertisements

5 comments on “The Litany of Humility

  1. I love this prayer, and love this post.
    I think I might be first in line in the pride department, but I suspect we all have a lot of company. Deliver me, Jesus.

    • Thank you, Kat.

      We all have room to grow, I am just struck by the simplicity of a prayer to desire something that I don’t have a natural inclination for. This could pertain to any virtue, I suppose. I don’t want to love my enemy, “give me the grace to desire it”. I don’t want to respond politely to my rude neighbor…”give me the grace to desire it” I don’t want to bless those that curse me…you get the idea.

      Thanks for stopping in.
      Lyn

  2. Girl, you do not have the monopoly on pride. We all have it, and I am full of it in one way or the other. I mean if my “dander” gets ruffled, a volcano has nothing on me! I stumbled across this prayer a few years back and printed it off. Since then it has been one of my monthly prayers. I do have my “humble” moments and they are sincere, but you know Lyn, “humility” comes in all kinds of forms to me. If I see someone pushing a wheelchair that is humility to me. Feeding a hungry person is humility to me. Praying for others as well is humility to me. I think we fail to realise these moments of humility in and of oursleves because the “pride” part is so strong. We are all a work in “progress” and will never be perfect until we are with our Lord in heaven. I think what goes a long way with God is the desire in our heart to be humble. If we have that He will take care of the rest. Great post and God Bless, SR

    • And isn’t that the tricky, elusive nature of humility. Once you think you got it, it’s gone.

      Thanks SR, I do so enjoy your perspective here, and you’re right, I notice humility alot quicker in others than myself, and I continue to pray “give me the grace to desire it”.

      Lyn

  3. Pingback: Forty Ideas to Incorporate or Give Up this Lent | New Things

Please leave a comment so I know you were here!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s