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Psychological Healing
in the Catholic Mystic Tradition

The Litany of Humility

 

Christian Lifestyle  |  How to Pray  |  Spiritual Counsels  |  Books  |  About CSF

 

To be taken with love for a soul, God does not look on its greatness, but on the greatness of its humility.

—St. John of the Cross
The Sayings of Light and Love, 103

AS YOU PRAY the Litany of Humility, you ask for three different graces that will allow you to live a genuine Christian life. These are the graces

  

to set aside your attempts to make yourself feel “special” through the acceptance and admiration of others;

  

to overcome your repugnance to feeling emotionally hurt by others;

to seek the good of others in all things, setting aside all competition, even at your own expense.

Still, let’s be careful that this is done in a psychologically healthy manner.

First, it’s good when our work is recognized and appreciated; the spiritual point is that we shouldn’t crave this admiration as an aspect of a personal identity, but that we endeavor to accept all benefits of our work in praise of Christ, who emptied Himself for our sake, who suffered for us, who died on a cross for us, and in whose service we do our work. But may I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ (Galatians 6:14).

Second, we all feel hurt when someone insults us; still, the spiritual point is that we don’t need to build up psychological defenses to protect ourselves from the pain of being insulted if only, even in our deepest hurt, we always endeavor to trust in Christ, who alone will protect us from all danger. Be not afraid, as Jesus says repetitively throughout the Gospels.

Finally, although “placing others first” runs counter to natural self-preservation, the spiritual point is that, if we really trust in God, not only can we stop competing with others to satisfy our pride but also we can endeavor to notice the needs of others, looking on others with compassion, in the hope that they might be saved from damnation because of their own desperate obsession with self-preservation. Nevertheless, our concern for others must not take on a form of masochism or self-defilement; in all of our charity to others we must never relinquish the responsibility of developing our talents to the fullest, so that we can serve Christ effectively and joyfully, in pure love.

How to learn humility:
Four Steps to Humility

 

 
The Litany of Humility

The original version of the Litany of Humility by Rafael Cardinal Merry del Val (1865-1930) can be found easily on the Internet. My adapted version makes the psychological meaning of humility understandable for a contemporary reader. I have substituted simple, colloquial expressions for archaic, formal expressions (e.g. “merciful” has been substituted for “meek”; “falsely accused” has been substituted for “calumniated”; etc.); I have reordered some items so that the overall context has a psychological logic to it; and I have changed the last line to read “Though others will do what they want, may my life be a radiant reflection of Your glory” (which is fitting for those who live primarily among others who disdain holiness).

 

O  JESUS merciful and humble of heart,

 Hear me. 

 

FROM the desire of being admired,

 Deliver me, Jesus. 

   From the desire of being loved,

      "

   From the desire of being praised,

      "

   From the desire of being favored,

      "

   From the desire of being accepted,

      "

   From the desire of being consulted,

      "

   From the desire of being well-known,

      "

   From the desire of being honored,

      "

 

FROM the fear of being criticized,

      "

   From the fear of being ridiculed,

      "

   From the fear of being humiliated,

      "

   From the fear of being falsely accused,

      "

   From the fear of being persecuted,

      "

   From the fear of being disbelieved,

      "

   From the fear of being despised,

      "

   From the fear of being forgotten,

      "

 

THAT others may be loved more than I,

 Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it. 

That others may be admired more than I,

      "

That others may be praised though I
   may be unnoticed,

      "
 

That others may be chosen though I
   may be set aside,

      "
 

That others may be preferred to me in
   receiving social honors,

      "
 

That, in the opinion of the world,
   others may increase in prominence
   while I remain hidden,

      "
 
 

Though others will do what they want,
   may my life be a radiant reflection
   of Your glory,

      "
 
 

 

The Litany of Humility Booklet
 

These booklets are individually made with prayerful care. They should be, because I originally made them for my own use. I print each booklet in color on acid-free letterhead quality paper, and then I trim the booklet by hand with torn, not cut, edges.
 
 

Cover
 

Original version, Inside  (Back cover not shown)
 

                                                                                                                                                                       

 
Appx. 2¾" x 4¼"
(Closed)
 

 
Approximately 5½" x 4¼"
(Opened)
 

 
$4.00
includes shipping

Two choices.

The original, as written by Rafael Cardinal Merry del Val (1865-1930)

My adapted version makes the psychological meaning of humility understandable for a contemporary reader. I have substituted simple, colloquial expressions for archaic, formal expressions (e.g. “merciful” has been substituted for “meek”; “falsely accused” has been substituted for “calumniated”; etc.); I have reordered some items so that the overall context has a psychological logic to it; and I have changed the last line to read “Though others will do what they want, may my life be a radiant reflection of Your glory” (which is fitting for those who live primarily among others who disdain holiness).
 

The Litany of Humility – Original

The Litany of Humility – Adapted

 
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