Author Topic: Litany of Humility  (Read 4218 times)

Offline james03

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Litany of Humility
« on: August 31, 2014, 06:06:58 PM »
First, a slight intro.  I understand how evil pride is.  I really abhor it.  I also understand humility, it is one of my favorite virtues.  In fact, humility is a pillar of strength, and a man can not be a man unless he is humble.  My problem is with this prayer.  It has some good parts, but parts that rub me wrong.

The first part is a list of "desires" you want to avoid.  I guess that is the escape hatch.  Yeah, these "desires" qua desire should be avoided.  Agreed.  Same with the last part, "fears".  These fears qua fear, should be avoided.

Now the middle part:
    That others may be loved more than I..... I don't think there is a scale of love.  I want to be loved by my wife and kids and the rest of my family.  To pray that my kids love my wife "more" than me doesn't make sense.
    That others may be esteemed more than I....  Nope.  I don't want Barrack Obama esteemed more than me.  Not out of a desire for human respect, but the contra view, I don't want a coke snorting alleged queer being esteemed.
    That, in the opinion of the world others may increase and I may decrease ... I don't want to "decrease".  Furthermore, in the opinion of the world, I'd like that opinion to increase for me, a man of at least some virtue for my virtues and decrease for scum like Obama.
That others may be chosen and I set aside ... Again, if I have talent, and some political kiss up are in the running to be chosen for something, then I want to be chosen because I believe in being judged on merit.
That others may be praised and I unnoticed ... If I have done something magnanimous I pray that society recognizes it.  Not because I desire praise, but because I want magnanimous actions honored in society.
That others may be preferred to me in everything...  Everything?  So my wife should prefer other men over me?  That's what the prayer asks for.
That others may become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should…Nope.  I want to be holier than everyone and I want the maximum reward in heaven.  I'll go further.  If the only way I'd get to heaven is if the entire human race, including my family went to hell, I'd say, "sorry, I'm choosing heaven".  I guess he has another escape hatch, the "as I should".  So if what is meant is that I should obtain the holiness God intends, given, and I pray that others actually exceed this, I'm good with that.  That is Charity, another great virtue.

Bottom line this prayer is sloppy.  I understand what the author was trying to get at, but it is poorly done.

"But he that doth not believe, is already judged: because he believeth not in the name of the only begotten Son of God (Jn 3:18)."

"All sorrow leads to the foot of the Cross.  Weep for your sins."

"Although He should kill me, I will trust in Him"
 

Offline james03

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Re: Litany of Humility
« Reply #1 on: August 31, 2014, 06:20:15 PM »
Put it another way.  The second level of spiritual perfection is to practice virtue because we love them and their effects.  This naturally lends itself to wanting others to see the good in your life BECAUSE OF PRACTICED VIRTUES.  Heck, that's what we need to get Catholic society again.  This prayer leaves this out, and in fact comes across as even opposing this.  That is my problem with it.
"But he that doth not believe, is already judged: because he believeth not in the name of the only begotten Son of God (Jn 3:18)."

"All sorrow leads to the foot of the Cross.  Weep for your sins."

"Although He should kill me, I will trust in Him"
 

Offline Bernadette

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Re: Litany of Humility
« Reply #2 on: August 31, 2014, 07:55:47 PM »
I always fgured that the "esteem" part and the "increase/decrease" part meant "in relation to virtuous people." Obviously we wouldn't be praying that vice is esteemed, right?  :shrug:
"Make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is come to life again; he was lost, and is found."
 

Offline james03

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Re: Litany of Humility
« Reply #3 on: August 31, 2014, 08:11:14 PM »
Yeah, I get the intention of the prayer.  I just think it is sloppy.  Actually big chunks of it would be better called "Litany of Charity".  Humility is a great virtue, and I hate seeing it handled poorly.
"But he that doth not believe, is already judged: because he believeth not in the name of the only begotten Son of God (Jn 3:18)."

"All sorrow leads to the foot of the Cross.  Weep for your sins."

"Although He should kill me, I will trust in Him"
 

Offline Jayne

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Re: Litany of Humility
« Reply #4 on: August 31, 2014, 09:08:22 PM »
I've always liked that prayer a lot, but I did not understand it the way you explained.  I would love to be humble.
Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make my heart like unto Thine.
 

Offline INPEFESS

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Re: Litany of Humility
« Reply #5 on: August 31, 2014, 10:29:50 PM »
I always fgured that the "esteem" part and the "increase/decrease" part meant "in relation to virtuous people." Obviously we wouldn't be praying that vice is esteemed, right?  :shrug:

Exactly. Though I have shared James03's reservations with the litany, I have understood it in the same light as yourself.

It doesn't mean that we should wish ALL others to be considered the superlative in preference to ourselves; it means that either we should wish it in the abstract, without consideration of this or that person with this or that fault or sin in particular, or we should wish it in consideration of a virtuous person, preferring themselves to be the superlative of ourselves in the world's eyes.
I  n
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E t
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S ancti

>))))))º> "Wherefore, brethren, labour the more, that by good works you may make sure your calling and election. For doing these things, you shall not sin at any time" (II Peter 1:10). <º((((((<

 

Offline james03

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Re: Litany of Humility
« Reply #6 on: August 31, 2014, 11:34:01 PM »
Wishing others to excel is an act of Charity.  Seeing your worthlessness BEFORE GOD is the start of humility.  Forget about what others think.

From there you must accept brutal honesty.  Know your limitations and accept what you can not do.  When you don't know something, admit it.  When you are wrong, own it.  This is a great pillar of strength for a man.

Come to think of it, there is a famous prayer which I think better illustrates humility.
Quote from:  serenity prayer
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.
"But he that doth not believe, is already judged: because he believeth not in the name of the only begotten Son of God (Jn 3:18)."

"All sorrow leads to the foot of the Cross.  Weep for your sins."

"Although He should kill me, I will trust in Him"
 

Offline VeraeFidei

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Re: Litany of Humility
« Reply #7 on: September 01, 2014, 12:56:13 AM »
Wishing others to excel is an act of Charity.  Seeing your worthlessness BEFORE GOD is the start of humility.  Forget about what others think.

From there you must accept brutal honesty.  Know your limitations and accept what you can not do.  When you don't know something, admit it.  When you are wrong, own it.  This is a great pillar of strength for a man.

Come to think of it, there is a famous prayer which I think better illustrates humility.
Quote from:  serenity prayer
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.
James, I admire much of what you write and found your reflects on the Litany intriguing.

However, the "Serenity prayer" I don't think can even be called Christian in some vague sense, let alone integrally Catholic. At best, it is vapid spiritual veneer solely appropriate for the crap on which it is printed and the manner in which it is bandied about. More modern-sounding nondescript rhetoric about "change." We are never to "accept" things we cannot change. That's like saying, "Well I cannot legally ban abortion, so I accept that it exists and such is life, oh bummer." If a Catholic cannot actively change some unjust situation, unjustly acting person, etc., he always has recourse to prayer, which is more powerful in the overall order of things anyways. The Serenity prayer implicitly denies this.
 

Offline Non Nobis

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Re: Litany of Humility
« Reply #8 on: September 01, 2014, 02:25:43 AM »
Put it another way.  The second level of spiritual perfection is to practice virtue because we love them and their effects.  This naturally lends itself to wanting others to see the good in your life BECAUSE OF PRACTICED VIRTUES.  Heck, that's what we need to get Catholic society again.  This prayer leaves this out, and in fact comes across as even opposing this.  That is my problem with it.

I think the humble person desires virtue to be praised in general, but doesn't desire praise for himself in particular.  The desire to edify others (or have them praise virtue) is there underneath,  but is not so much the focus of the humble man whose sole goal is to do God's will, whether it is seen or praised by others or not.   He wants to make himself little before God, but savoring praise too much (even for a good reason) can magnify him in his own eyes. John 3:26 He must increase, but I must decrease.

I've just seen (not that I can name them) too many saints' writings that seem consistent with the litany of humility, even if their thinking is similarly difficult.
[Matthew 8:26]  And Jesus saith to them: Why are you fearful, O ye of little faith? Then rising up he commanded the winds, and the sea, and there came a great calm.

[Job  38:1-5]  Then the Lord answered Job out of a whirlwind, and said: [2] Who is this that wrappeth up sentences in unskillful words? [3] Gird up thy loins like a man: I will ask thee, and answer thou me. [4] Where wast thou when I laid up the foundations of the earth? tell me if thou hast understanding. [5] Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it?

Jesus, Mary, I love Thee! Save souls!
 

Offline james03

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Re: Litany of Humility
« Reply #9 on: September 01, 2014, 09:51:43 AM »
Quote
At best, it is vapid spiritual veneer solely appropriate for the crap on which it is printed and the manner in which it is bandied about.

Best quote of the week award.   

Anyhow, the way Fr. Ripperger explained pride and humility, one of the things to correct is "overreaching".  He meant that God created you for a particular place and purpose, so you try to excel at what God intends for you.

It is kind of a balance, which is interesting because Fr. R. also says the virtue lies in the mean.  So on one hand you don't want to be a sloth, giving up, making excuses, and wringing your hands.  On the other hand you don't want to rack up a credit card bill and car debt and drive around in a car that you can't afford.
"But he that doth not believe, is already judged: because he believeth not in the name of the only begotten Son of God (Jn 3:18)."

"All sorrow leads to the foot of the Cross.  Weep for your sins."

"Although He should kill me, I will trust in Him"
 

Offline james03

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Re: Litany of Humility
« Reply #10 on: September 01, 2014, 10:02:42 AM »
Quote
I think the humble person desires virtue to be praised in general, but doesn't desire praise for himself in particular.  The desire to edify others (or have them praise virtue) is there underneath,  but is not so much the focus of the humble man whose sole goal is to do God's will, whether it is seen or praised by others or not.   He wants to make himself little before God, but savoring praise too much (even for a good reason) can magnify him in his own eyes. John 3:26 He must increase, but I must decrease.

I completely agree with this post.  Praise and fear are to be avoided, at least in excess.  So the evil is human respect, which at its core is Pride.  I just think that the prayer is lacking in precision.  For example "the desire to edify others" is Charity.
"But he that doth not believe, is already judged: because he believeth not in the name of the only begotten Son of God (Jn 3:18)."

"All sorrow leads to the foot of the Cross.  Weep for your sins."

"Although He should kill me, I will trust in Him"
 

Offline LouisIX

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Re: Litany of Humility
« Reply #11 on: September 03, 2014, 01:24:36 PM »
I always fgured that the "esteem" part and the "increase/decrease" part meant "in relation to virtuous people." Obviously we wouldn't be praying that vice is esteemed, right?  :shrug:

Exactly. Though I have shared James03's reservations with the litany, I have understood it in the same light as yourself.

It doesn't mean that we should wish ALL others to be considered the superlative in preference to ourselves; it means that either we should wish it in the abstract, without consideration of this or that person with this or that fault or sin in particular, or we should wish it in consideration of a virtuous person, preferring themselves to be the superlative of ourselves in the world's eyes.

It could even be read in such a way that, when thinking of this particular person (say, Obama), the one praying wishes that he is made great (truly virtuous) and esteemed in that greatness while the one praying remains unnoticed.

I have no problem with this prayer, which seems merely like a natural extension of the beatitudes.
IF I speak with the tongues of men, and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
 

Offline nmoerbeek

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Re: Litany of Humility
« Reply #12 on: September 03, 2014, 02:22:36 PM »
Quote
At best, it is vapid spiritual veneer solely appropriate for the crap on which it is printed and the manner in which it is bandied about.

Best quote of the week award.   

Anyhow, the way Fr. Ripperger explained pride and humility, one of the things to correct is "overreaching".  He meant that God created you for a particular place and purpose, so you try to excel at what God intends for you.

It is kind of a balance, which is interesting because Fr. R. also says the virtue lies in the mean.  So on one hand you don't want to be a sloth, giving up, making excuses, and wringing your hands.  On the other hand you don't want to rack up a credit card bill and car debt and drive around in a car that you can't afford.

 Cardinal Merry Del Val wrote the Litany of Humility who Father Chad is promoting for canonization, he even wrote prayer beseeching God to for his canonization that he got Ecclesiastical approval  for.
http://www.sensustraditionis.org/devotional.html

I believe Father Chad recommends reciting it in several of his talks on the spiritual life as well, though I cannot remember which ones. 
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not to think so much of what I have written, as of my good and kind intentions. Please look for the truths of which I speak rather than for beauty of expression. Where I do not come up to your expectations, pardon me, and put my shortcomings down, please, to lack of time and stress of business." St. Bonaventure, From the Preface of Holiness of Life.

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Offline james03

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Re: Litany of Humility
« Reply #13 on: September 03, 2014, 07:50:00 PM »
Quote
It could even be read in such a way that, when thinking of this particular person (say, Obama), the one praying wishes that he is made great (truly virtuous) and esteemed in that greatness while the one praying remains unnoticed.
So it's an Act of Charity.

Where in this Litany do we recall our sins before God?  Or the incredible sacrifice on Calvary, a gift we can never repay?  That helps me a lot more to be humble.
"But he that doth not believe, is already judged: because he believeth not in the name of the only begotten Son of God (Jn 3:18)."

"All sorrow leads to the foot of the Cross.  Weep for your sins."

"Although He should kill me, I will trust in Him"
 

Offline LouisIX

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Re: Litany of Humility
« Reply #14 on: September 03, 2014, 07:53:21 PM »
Quote
It could even be read in such a way that, when thinking of this particular person (say, Obama), the one praying wishes that he is made great (truly virtuous) and esteemed in that greatness while the one praying remains unnoticed.
So it's an Act of Charity.

Where in this Litany do we recall our sins before God?  Or the incredible sacrifice on Calvary, a gift we can never repay?  That helps me a lot more to be humble.

That's fine.  We all have different devotions.  The Anima Christi prayer is particularly edifying for me.  Perhaps it is not so for you.  What is important is that we grow in humility.  This prayer is hardly the only way to do so.
IF I speak with the tongues of men, and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.