Tag Archives: Grace

A Walk Through The Litany Of Humility: Series Intro

One of the most challenging prayers (for me at least) is The Litany of Humility.  Humility that is both psychologically and spiritually healthy is a delicate balance to find.  There is a danger of embracing masochism rather than godly humility.  Another danger is false humility where one actually takes pride in one’s humble ways.  The goal is complete trust in God rather than in our own psychological defenses.  Trust in God allows us to resist the need for acceptance or approval of others, to resist the need to constantly avoid being hurt by others and to seek the good of others in all things, even at our own expense.  The goal is not self-defilement but a self fullfilment only achievable by placing confidence in God.

My intention for the next several blog entries is to walk through the Litany of Humility and comment on each part of the litany as it pertains to real life applications in my own spiritual journey and daily living.  I may combine some parts into one blog post.  We’ll see how it develops.

Already I am reflecting on my own desire to do this series, as my motivation could be a bid for the approval of others rather than a humble spiritual exercise.  Since we are called by God to do our best with our gifts and talents, I suppose it all depends on my attitude.  As long as I do this for the edification of others while using my writing talents, maybe there is hope for me.  I know that I very much need this prayer.

Below is the Litany of Humility, and here is a wonderful song by Daniele Rose to accompany it:

 

Litany of Humility

RafaelCardinal Merry del Val (1865-1930), Secretary of State for Pope Saint Pius X

O Jesus! meek and humble of heart, Hear me. From the desire of being esteemed, Deliver me, Jesus.From the desire of being loved… From the desire of being extolled … From the desire of being honored … From the desire of being praised … From the desire of being preferred to others… From the desire of being consulted … From the desire of being approved … From the fear of being humiliated … From the fear of being despised… From the fear of suffering rebukes … From the fear of being calumniated … From the fear of being forgotten … From the fear of being ridiculed … From the fear of being wronged … From the fear of being suspected …

That others may be loved more than I, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

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

(More info on the psychological aspects of the prayer can be found here.

What Do You See In The Mirror?

“Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.”  I can’t remember where that quote came from, but I like it.  It dovetails nicely with “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  When Jesus was asked to identify the greatest commandment, he said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself.”

There is a kind of “worm theology” that emphasizes human depravity to the extreme.  Such theology paints an image of humanity being no better than worms in God’s eyes until we are saved by Christ.  Once saved, we become “covered” in the righteousness of Jesus, and God then sees Jesus when he looks at us instead of seeing lowly worms.

Society and the media pressure us with “you’re-not-good-enough” messages.  Or, the message is, “You have to be better than others, so look out for number one.”  Arrogance and self-abasement seem to be popular choices.

Since we are sinful creatures, God certainly does not like to look upon our fallen natures.  However, with grace being greater than all our sin, I’m inclined to believe that God views us as creatures worth redeeming.  His desire is to actually make us clean, not just cover up the muck.  I don’t think he sees worms.  I think he sees his beloved, wounded creatures in need of healing.  Evil has done a number on us, because we allowed it to.

If we are honest, we will see flaws when we look in the mirror.  We will see our sins and our wounds.  We also need to see people worth redeeming when we look in the mirror.  When we shed the self-centered “chains” of being a “complete worm” we are able to focus our attention away from self and onto others.  Then, we see our neighbors and ourselves the way God sees us.  Then we can love our neighbors as ourselves, the way God does.  We are all wounded.  We all need healing.  We can’t save ourselves.  We can, however, point each other to the Great Physician who loves us and wants to heal us.  His grace and love can flow through us, but the “on switch” is our own humility.

No one gets to Heaven by earning it.  We can’t earn it.  But we are supposed to be there.  God wants us there with him.  That’s why we were created.  Realizing and accepting that fact is a humbling experience.  We are not worthy of being there, but we are worth being there.  God wants to remove the muck so we can enter the purity of Heaven, but he won’t force cleanliness upon us and violate our free will.  We tend to prefer playing in the muck, even though it doesn’t provide us with the real satisfaction we yearn for.  So we are offered chance upon chance to respond to God’s grace.

Self-centeredness can work in different ways.  Arrogance is placing self above others.  Abasement or degradation makes everyone else more valuable than self.  Either way, time is spent primarily thinking of self.  “Love your neighbor as yourself” is a balance that gives everyone “God-esteem.”  If you don’t love yourself the way God does, you’ll be hard-pressed to love others the way God does (especially your enemies).  Humility is the way in and the way out of your true self.  Humility is the first step towards God and true contentment.