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!