Let’s Pray the Litany of Humility Together

Photo Credit: t-bet (flickr).
Photo Credit: t-bet (flickr).

I don’t really believe in coincidence so when I recently came across the same obscure prayer, twice, in a matter of days I knew it had to have been for a reason.

So I stopped in my tracks.

The prayer is called the Litany of Humility and if you think that someone calling themselves the “Cordial Catholic” isn’t in dire need of humbling then you’re most definitely wrong. “Cordial Catholic” is a moniker I’m still trying to grow in to—and not doing a great job all the time.

That is to say, I could use more humility in my life.

The Litany of Humility is a Catholic prayer with roots in the late 19th century. In a brilliant twist of self-fulfilling prophecy the exact author of the prayer, ever humble, is apparently unknown. But the prayer itself remains utterly powerful as a call to humble thyself in relation to God and to others.

It is, I think, a prayer that locates us in right relationship with the world. That I, as a Christian, am in my right place—which ought to be a pretty humble position.

And, so, I’m going to start to pray it.

I’m going to pray the Litany of Humility every day when I wake up and I’m going to invite you to join me as well.

Because I can certainly use more humility; I can certain benefit from decreasing so that Christ can increase—and may you can too. And maybe if we, as Catholics, are all praying this powerful prayer together we may all get just a little bit more humble. Maybe we’ll reflect Christ just a little bit better. Maybe through the humble way we go about our lives we’ll draw in deeper those on the outside looking in.

Maybe what we become as humble, holy Christian men and women will be supernaturally attractive to a brand new generation of seekers.

Maybe if we actively put ourselves last we can change the world.

I don’t know. Isn’t it worth a try?

Here’s the Litany of Humility, would you pray with me?

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…

Amen.

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