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The Doorway to Holiness and Perfection

In her book The Way of Perfection, St. Teresa of Avila wrote, “…but it remains for us to become detached from our own selves and it is a hard thing to withdraw from ourselves and oppose ourselves, because we are very close to ourselves and love ourselves very dearly…It is here that true humility can enter.”

It was God Himself who set an example of humility for us.  He relinquished His power and glory by coming to Earth as a helpless human being.  He was born to a poor and humble couple in a stable surrounded by animals.  As an adult, He submitted Himself to the authority of men who mocked Him, brutally tortured Him, and then nailed Him to a cross so He could die an ignominious death.

Our Lord said: “Come to me, all you that labor and are burdened, and I will refresh you.  Take up my yoke upon you and learn of me, because I am meek and humble of heart: and you shall find rest to your souls.  For my yoke is sweet and my burden light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)  We are all called to imitate Christ.  There is no better way to imitate Him than to emulate His humility.  Unfortunately, there is a deafening silence in our world when it comes to practicing humility.  How is it that we are to practice this great virtue?

The most well-known prayer for petitioning God for the grace to practice humility was composed by Cardinal Merry del Val (1865-1930), the secretary of state to St. Pius X.  Some people find it more difficult than others to pray the Litany of Humility.  They say, “I refuse to pray to be humiliated.  Why would I want to be humiliated?”  In addition to the opportunity to imitate Christ, there are two other reasons that you should pray for humility:

1. Regardless of whether you pray for humility, there are going to be occasions when you will be humiliated, either by something you do or an event that is outside your control.  If you pray the Litany of Humility every day, when you do go through a humiliating experience, rather than react with anger, revenge, or despair, you will be given the grace to respond with gratitude for having been allowed to follow in the footsteps of your Savior.

2. It is only through humility that you will ever be able to conquer your tendency toward pride.  While pride is the doorway that leads to all other sins, humility is the doorway that leads to holiness and perfection.

Other than prayer, here are some practical ways in which you can practice the virtue of humility:

• Perform frequent acts of self-sacrifice (mortification),
• Practice heroic patience with your family members, friends, and fellow workers,
• Be open to everyone, especially those who are less fortunate than you are,
• Develop the habit of consistently praising others,
• Acknowledge your dependence on God by giving Him credit for all your gifts and talents,
• Make an effort to consistently be of service to others.

Below you will find the Litany of Humility and two other powerful prayers for humility.  Your soul is at risk if you ignore or avoid this great virtue.

Litany of Humility

O Jesus, meek and humble of heart, Hear me.
From the desire of being esteemed,
Deliver me, Jesus.  (Repeat “Deliver me, Jesus” after each of the following requests.)
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 “Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it” after each of the remaining requests.)

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…

Freedom From Human Respect

Jesus, my Lord, help me to overcome my weakness of giving in to human respect.  I seem almost to live by the judgment that others have of me.  Yet I know how foolish it is to pay so much attention to what people think or say, as though it was their opinion and not your infallible wisdom that was the norm of my actions.  Deliver me from this tyranny, which it is, by making me so conscious of your presence that no human being may interfere with my joyous freedom in your service.  Amen.

Recovery From Humiliation

I have been humiliated to the dust, dear Lord, and I ask for courage to benefit from what you sent me.  Teach me to know that great graces cannot be obtained without humility, so those who are to have them must be humiliated, to be made worthy by humility to receive the blessings that you withhold from the proud.  Having experienced the present humiliation, may I trust it as a sure sign that you have some special grace in store for me.  Amen.

 

 

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2 Responses to “The Doorway to Holiness and Perfection”

  1. Ann Confort Says:

    Thank you for this reminder. I will try to pray the litany every day.

  2. Harry Says:

    Ann,
    Good to hear from you. The Litany of Humility is a great prayer and will create a quick path to holiness for you.
    Take care,
    Harry

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