The Litany of Humility

O Jesus meek and humble of heart, Hear me.
From the desire of being esteemed, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being loved, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being extolled, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being honored, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being praised, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being preferred to others, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being consulted, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being approved, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being humiliated, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being despised, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of suffering rebukes, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being calumniated, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being forgotten, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being ridiculed, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being wronged, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being suspected, Deliver me, Jesus.

That others may be loved more than I,
   Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be esteemed more than I,
   Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That in the opinion of the world, others may increase, and I may decrease,
   Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be chosen and I set aside,
   Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be praised and I unnoticed,
   Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be preferred to me in everything,
   Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may become holier than I, provided that I become as holy as I should,
   Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

Written by Rafael Cardinal Merry del Val.

Rafael Cardinal Merry del Val

Cardinal Merry del Val (1865-1930) was apparently accustomed to recite this prayer daily after his celebration of Mass. He was also a composer, and is even mentioned in Henry Morton Robinson’s famous (or, at least it used to be, among Roman Catholics) fictional book The Cardinal. I found this extraordinary litany in the beautifully produced little Latin-English Roman Catholic Daily Missal produced by Angelus Press, based upon the 1962 Missale Romanum. These missals have become quite popular again, with Pope Benedict XVI having derestricted celebration of the Tridentine Latin Mass. The above litany is a fine example of the kind of apatheia (dispassion, or better, the mastery of one’s passions) that is often found so strikingly in the Desert Fathers, and among many others of the ancient Church Fathers and the lives of Saints, and which is still emphasized in Eastern Orthodox asceticism. In the modern world, it seems foolish, or at the very least counterproductive, to pray for such things. But such is the grand ship of the Church, whose mooring is in another world, that of the eternal Kingdom of God.