Monday, March 10, 2014

Litany of Humility

The readings this weekend reflect on the nature of sin in our lives. It all started with the serpent tricking Eve into tasting the forbidden fruit and Adam following.

We have faced temptation ever since.  In his final attempt to tempt Jesus, the tempter tried to offer him everything. He was striving to capitalize on a sin he knew so well, pride.

In our own lives, pride often raises its ugly head. We think we know it all and we are the best.  I don't want to downplay the importance of having pride in our faith or our Church, or the pride for a job well done. It is important to want to do well and to do the best that we can. I am thinking about the pride we sometimes see in our children when they do not think they need to obey.  It might come about in a conversation like this:

Child: "I want to go to the party at the lake on Saturday night."

Parent: "No.  There are too many things there that can get you into trouble."

Child: "Why can't I go!!!  I hate you!!!"

It is important to remember that for most parents, giving placing limits on their children is not done out of hatred for the child. It is often done to protect the child from problems that may be a result of participating in an event or activity.  The pride of the child often keeps the child from seeing or understanding the larger picture.  The same can be said about a lot of us in relation to the teachings of the Church.  We let our pride, and desire for immediate gratification, get into the way of listening to what the Church says. This is especially true in areas of the sexual teaching of the Church.  We think we, in our limited lifetimes, know more than the Church has learned in her 2000 year existence.  This pride disrupts us in many ways.

I want to place the challenge upon you to think about how we can grow in humility.  A few years back, when I had a priest from the Fathers of Mercy doing a parish mission, he brought up the idea of praying the Litany of Humility.

I'd like to share that with you today.

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.

The key to this prayer is the last line in my opinion: That others may become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should.  Are we striving to become as holy as we should?  Are we admitting that, as our responsorial psalm stated today, "Be merciful, O Lord, for we have sinned",  we are sinners in need of God's grace?  Are we letting the pride of the serpent/tempter lead us down the path of excessive pride that will be detrimental to us in the future and stand in our way of a true conversion this Lenten season?  I want to challenge you all again to take a deeper look at the Litany of Humility and consider making it a part of your prayer routine.  It may be difficult at first, but it will start to make a difference in our outlook and our faith if we make it a heartfelt prayer.

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