While in the habit of challenging my readers, why not talk about humility? That little thing we all know we need more of but won’t admit it. What does it look like to be humble? When I first started praying about this, I thought there had to be a balance between selflessly serving others and letting people walk all over you. Does humility mean quietly taking abuse and ridicule from others? Sometimes, yes. I just came across this list from Mother Teresa which helps give a concrete picture of humility.
1. Speak as little as possible about yourself.
2. Keep busy with your own affairs and not those of others.
3. Avoid curiosity.
4. Do not interfere in the affairs of others.
5. Accept small irritations with good humor.
6. Do not dwell on the faults of others.
7. Accept censures even if unmerited.
8. Give in to the will of others.
9. Accept insults and injuries.
10. Accept contempt, being forgotten and disregarded.
11. Accept injuries and insults.
12. Be courteous and delicate even when provoked by someone.
13. Do not seek to be admired and loved.
14. Do not protect yourself behind your own dignity.
15. Give in, in discussions, even when you are right.
16. Always choose the more difficult task.
Some of these things are difficult, impossible even. But everything can be made possible through the grace of God. Pride, like most people, is something I struggle with. So when I learned about a prayer called The Litany of Humility I knew that it needed to become a part of my routine. Then I found out that the TOR Sisters pray it everyday as part of Night prayer and I took it as one of many signs that I am supposed to join them. Beware, this prayer will change your life!
Litany of Humility
O Jesus! meek and humble of heart, Hear me.
From the desire of being esteemed,
Deliver me, Jesus. (repeat after each line)
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. (repeat after each line)
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,
The trick with this prayer is really meaning it. At first, it might feel like you are just saying the words but eventually hopefully these desires will truly penetrate your heart. You will be in a situation in which you want affirmation or acknowledge and the line will be put on your heart: “From the desire of being approved, deliver me Jesus.”
I first discovered this prayer because of Matt Maher‘s song, “Every Little Prison(Deliver Me)”, which is inspired by the Litany:
Here’s a beautiful sung version by Danielle Rose:
Lastly, be careful when you ask God to help you be more humble, because you will probably suddenly be bombarded by humiliating situations. Allow yourself to be humiliated by Grace.