Litany of Humility

Madonna of Humility ~ 1415-1416 ~ Gentile da Fabriano

I’ve been reading this blog by Father Peter Carota a lot this Lenten Season.  This morning he has a good post up on humility and in it is the Litany of Humility (from Rafael Cardinal Merry del Va (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, 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.

While reading this, I found that as each verb changed from desire, to fear, to grant this litany became more and more difficult to read.  It was rather easy to pray for the changed desire, but as counter intuitive as it may seem, it was more difficult to ask to be delivered from fear.  Then the last section, to ask that I desire others to receive more esteem, higher opinion, etc, was even more difficult. I wanted to check out, to not finish the prayer.

I find pride and humility to be awesome things (awe inspiring).  Pride, being the root of all sin, can be so incredibly difficult to see.  Couple that with the wont to see humility as weakness and it becomes even worse.

I’ve been thinking a lot on this, Matthew7:13-14:

13 “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. 14 For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.

I picture this path in the middle of a huge expanse, down the middle is this tiny path that leads to the gates of heaven, humility. On one side of this path is Pride and on the other, Despair.  Finding that path, finding that tiny path to humility is a life long process that we must face head-on and without fear.  Doing this without God, without his grace, would be impossible.

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5 thoughts on “Litany of Humility

  1. Quick, spell check your headline! (Or is that a sneaky instance of your typographical humility?)

    “On one side of this path is Pride and on the other, Despair.” Deadly accurate image. Do you paint? Get that word picture on canvas.

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  2. Ye Cats! In the wordpress edit page, it took me a few seconds to see what you were talking about. Might be time to have the eyes checked. The missing “i” just blended with the “l”.

    Alas, I don’t paint, but thank you. It’s an image I can’t seem to get out of my head lately, and that’s not a bad thing.

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  3. I’ve been struggling with the need for acceptance and fear of criticism and ridicule, and my fiance has pointed out that it has started to hold me captive. I never thought of this as a matter of Pride.

    I’ve printed this off, and have said it before I’ve gone to bed the last few nights. Thank you so much, Stingray!

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  4. I hope it helps, Catherine. I think that we tend to see those things as a lack of self esteem (especially us women) and then figure, how can that be pride? But when you look deeper, those absolutely are. On those few occasions that I’ve had moments of clarity, where God has granted me freedom from those things, there is no lack of self esteem or lack of confidence. I don’t think I’ve reached the point where there is not self esteem because there is no self, only God. You might like that book Spiritual Combat as well.

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