Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A Lesson in Humility

Litany of Humility

Oh Jesus! meek and humble of heart, hear me.

From the desire of being esteemed,
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,
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,

Deliver me, Jesus.

That others may be loved more than I,
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 become holier than I, provided that I may
become as holy as I should.

Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

There is a saying, "Be careful what you pray for, you just might get it!" I've been praying this prayer for humility for some time now, and wasn't quite sure what to expect if God were to really answer my request for humility. I didn't realize that being knocked down a few prideful notches was just what I needed to grow closer to God, but He knew, and maybe He was glad that I finally asked for it!

After a long and tiring day, I walked in the back door of my house, hoping to sit back and relax for a few minutes. It was not to be. The red light on the answering machine kept flickering to let me know that a message was waiting and I just couldn't rest until I listened to it. It was the school principal, calling to let me know that one of my boys had gotten himself into some trouble, and he wanted me to come in for a meeting about it. Now my poor son, who hadn't been praying the prayer for humility, got a healthy dose of it right along with me, but I'm sure God knew that we both needed it.

As I walked past the school secretaries on my way to the principal's office, they smiled in their usual friendly way and greeted me with hellos, but in my mind, I saw something behind their smiles. It seemed as if they knew the reason why I was there, and they were almost gleeful to see that one of my children had finally done something bad enough to be in this uncomfortable predicament. Not only was I angry about my son's misbehavior, but sadly, I was also embarrassed by the fact the whole school seemed to be aware of what he had done.

For too long, the words "You have such great kids" have echoed in my ears and made me awfully proud. Now, my kids are great, even the one waiting for me in the principal's office, but truthfully, all kids are great, mine aren't any better than anyone else's, and it is through no credit of mine that my kids have gotten as far as they have in life unscathed by their misdeeds. It is only through the grace of God that they have been able to lead lives of exemplary behavior in the world outside the confines of our home.

So I thank God for this opportunity to take off my prideful mask and reveal to the world that my family and I struggle with sin and naughty behavior just like everybody else does. And I thank God for the opportunity to attend daily Mass and receive His precious body in Holy Communion each day so that we are able to carry Him with us wherever we go, knowing that He will keep us from ever straying too far beyond redemption. I also thank God for the opportunity to confess our sins in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, without which, our sins would eat at our souls and leave us in empty misery.

Thank you, God, for making us all the same...your precious children who have so much to learn and such a long way to go to perfection in You. Amen.


  1. Anne,
    Indeed be careful what you pray for- humility seems to be the one prayer God loves to answer almost immediately! And as our former pastor was known for saying, "You can't gain humility without humiliations."
    I keep the Litany of humility in my Magnificat so I always have it and pray it as often as I can (not an easy prayer to pray and mean).
    Thanks for sharing one of your kids being kids moments.
    God Bless!

  2. Anne,
    It took me years before I even had the guts to pray this prayer! I used to skip over it in my prayer book because I wasn't ready to pray it yet. When I did finally pray it I added,"Please be gentle." It wasn't the first half that I was afraid of, it was the second half. For some reason, he loves to answer this prayer quickly [lol]. Sometimes the things He allows make me laugh, other times I have to just eat a great big piece of humble pie and thank him [even though it's hard to swallow].
    If it makes you feel any better - all kids have their less-than-best moments. I still have them as an adult:)