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The Liturgy Corner - Side Topic: The Litany of Humility

Today, I am taking a short break from the ongoing 'dialogue of the Mass' series to share with you a prayer. During my homily last weekend, I mentioned the Litany of Humility that my 'household' at Franciscan University of Steubenville would sing every Sunday night before we prayed the Rosary. I cannot find the sung version that we did anywhere. I think it may have been composed by someone in or connected to that group. But many people asked me about the prayer itself. It seemed like a good idea to share with you the prayer and to talk about it a little.

I think it important that many of the desires (and fears) from which we are praying for deliverance are not bad in and of themselves. Rather, like many things, we so often let our desire for lower things override higher things. Hence, we pray that Jesus delivers us from the desire of being loved. It is not wrong at all to desire to be loved. But rather, we should focus foremost on loving God and others. For in doing so, the Lord draws us into a deeper understanding of the fact that He loves us beyond measure. But in simply seeking to be loved as our highest priority, we greatly hinder our ability in loving others and even make it more difficult for others to love us and more difficult for us to receive God's love. As C.S. Lewis said, "Joy bursts in our lives when we go about doing the good at hand and not trying to manipulate things and times to achieve joy." The same is true of love. In seeking to love, we find that we are loved.

And yes, this does connect to the Liturgy. We often come to Mass hoping that we will 'get something out of it.' But truly, our participation at the Mass is meant to be an act of love for God. We will find that the more we focus on simply giving God a gift of our love and devotion at Mass, we will end up, in time, having deeper experiences of His love in the Mass.

 

Litany of Humility

by Rafael Cardinal Merry del Val y Zulueta

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…

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