Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Learning Humility This Advent

Advent is an anticipatory season. It is generally joyful. Nevertheless, there is a penitential element to it, and this is quite logical, when one thinks about it. If Christ is coming - into our hearts and at the end of days - we should want to make ready His way. And that includes undertaking penance to purify our hearts and so prepare to receive him.

In that spirit, I would like to offer the Litany of Humility for Advent devotion. Composed by Rafael Cardinal Merry del Val, Cardinal Secretary of State under Pope Pius X, the litany focuses on letting go of ourselves and our ambitions, that Christ may fill us. Although the tone may sound more Lenten than Adventine - and indeed it may be - I think it works for this season. The middle section addresses our need to be delivered, in large measure from our own false desires; may our Deliverer come quickly!  And the final section speaks to the way that a humble attitude toward ourselves can lead to a joyful concern for the well-being of others: "That others may be loved.... That others may become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should." One who has learned to live these words has true joy and has indeed made room for the Holy One of God to dwell within.


The Litany of Humility

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.
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