One of my main focuses during Lent this year is the Litany of Humility. It is difficult to pray, but it’s good for me. It implores the Lord for things that are the opposite of what society tells me to strive for, but it helps cultivate a virtue that benefits my soul.
The words may be surprising when prayed the first time, but they teach us how Jesus lived and how to be more like Him. Prayed from the heart, the litany encourages me to recognize my nothingness apart from Christ, strips me of my pride, highlights the value of the other and gently brings the peace that comes with humility.
The Litany of Humility is truly a beautiful prayer, even if it does make me uncomfortable at first! Composed by Rafael Cardinal Merry de Val (1865-1930), the Secretary of State for Pope Saint Pius X, it has three main parts: a series of requests in the format of, “From the desire of [insert phrase], deliver me, O Jesus”; a series of, “From the fear of [insert phrase], deliver me, O Jesus”; and a series of, “That others [insert phrase], Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.” They are powerful petitions.
“From the desire of being honored, deliver me, O Jesus…
From the fear of being wronged, deliver me, O Jesus…
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.”
I think it is a super prayer for Lent. It can be found in its entirety in many places, including on the EWTN and Ascension Press websites. The Knights of the Holy Eucharist, a Franciscan community founded by the late EWTN founder mother Angelica, has made available a downloadable PDF of the prayer. The link appears below. The prayer also is part of the free app Laudate, which is available for iOS and Android devices.
For a deeper reflection, one or two lines can be taken to the Lord, and one can consider connections in his or her own life. I’ve prayed this litany straight down the page without pausing before seeing patients at work, and I’ve prayed it during dedicated prayer time, slowly, meditating on the words.
Lent is a time to die to ourselves. I find that the Litany of Humility helps me to do so and increases my striving toward being as Christlike as possible. I’m grateful for this prayer—the difficulty and all.
Click here to download the Litany of Humility, courtesy of the Knights of the Holy Eucharist.