Category Archives: holiness

Praying the Litany of Humility

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The Catholic Dictionary defines humility as “the virtue that restrains the unruly desire for personal greatness and leads people to an orderly love of themselves based on a true appreciation of their position with respect to God and their neighbors.”

Indeed, it is this virtue of humility (when properly cultivated) which most effectively combats the foundational sin of pride, one of the seven capital sins identified by Holy Mother Church (along with avarice, envy, wrath, lust, gluttony, and sloth or acedia).

At a time in our history when information and communication is instantaneous, and notoriety is often seen as an end unto itself, pride takes root in the culture…and in our soul.

From the Church, to society, and even in the family we see manifestations of pride.

Discourse is disrupted as the sound of our own voice appeals to us more than listening to another’s. Civil discussions fall by the wayside as we seek to “win the argument” at all cost. There is little room for formation if we believe we already have all the answers. There is even less room for sanctification if our pride leads us to place our trust in ourselves instead of God.

Enter Servant of God Rafael Cardinal Merry del Val (10 October 1865 – 26 February 1930). Secretary of State for the Vatican under Pope St. Pius X, it was the writings of this holy and noble Cardinal which inspired the Litany of Humility.

By praying the Litany we are doing nothing less than asking Our Blessed Lord to deliver us from the sin of pride and granting us the grace to desire the virtue of humility.

While it has been a favorite of the faithful for decades, the Litany is indeed a prayer for our time.

The 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…

Amen.

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