Praying for Humility [during a pandemic]

Humility

Humility is the virtue by which a Christian acknowledges that God is the author of all good. it is a necessary virtue because one cannot know Jesus or be conformed to the likeness of Jesus without the virtue of humility. Humility is annexed to the Cardinal Virtue of temperance; it moderates pride, vanity, and anger. Humility is also the foundation of prayer. “Prayer is the raising of one’s mind and heart to God or the requesting of good things from God. But when we pray, do we speak from the height of our pride and will, or out of the depths of a humble and contrite heart?” (CCC 2559).

Our modern culture tends to confuse meekness with weakness, and humility with self-abasement. True humility sets us free to be more fully alive and to become exactly who God created us to be. True humility yields joyful trust, even when suffering through circumstances that we do not want, cannot control, or do not understand. If you are experiencing any of these difficult circumstances during the pandemic, perhaps humility is a virtue to focus on!

Praying for Humility

The best way to acquire the virtue of humility is to simply ask for it! One beautiful prayer for humility, composed in the 1860’s, is the Litany of Humility (below). If you are not familiar with this prayer, some of the wording may seem challenging — or even appear to be errant — at first glance. For some, the challenging wording may become meaningful and compelling upon devoted repetition. For others, the wording may continue to be distracting. Regardless, the Litany of Humility does not need to be prayed only in its original form to be effective. Try adding or removing lines, if that is helpful. Or, compose your own prayer for humility following the Litany’s form. A modified prayer for humility that is specific to the circumstance of the pandemic is also included below. Families with children may consider composing a unique “Family Litany of Humility,” with simplified wording and personal requests.

The Litany of Humility

O Jesus, meek and humble of heart; hear me.
From the desire of being esteemed; deliver me, O Jesus.
From the desire of being loved; deliver me, O Jesus.
From the desire of being extolled; deliver me, O Jesus.
From the desire of being honored; deliver me, O Jesus.
From the desire of being praised; deliver me, O Jesus.
From the desire of being preferred to others; deliver me, O Jesus.
From the desire of being consulted; deliver me, O Jesus.
From the desire of being approved; deliver me, O Jesus.
From the fear of being humiliated; deliver me, O Jesus.
From the fear of being despised; deliver me, O Jesus.
From the fear of suffering rebukes; deliver me, O Jesus.
From the fear of being calumniated; deliver me, O Jesus.
From the fear of being forgotten; deliver me, O Jesus.
From the fear of being ridiculed; deliver me, O Jesus.
From the fear of being wronged; deliver me, O Jesus.
From the fear of being suspected; deliver me, O 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 go 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 may become as holy as I should; Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

Prayer for Humility During a Pandemic

O Jesus, meek and humble of heart, hear me.
From the desire to foresee that which is unforeseeable; deliver me, O Jesus.
From the desire to be right, understand data, and win arguments; deliver me, O Jesus. 
From the desire to be an expert on socio-political issues; deliver me, O Jesus.
From the fear of being uncomfortable; deliver me, O Jesus.
From the fear of job loss and school closure; deliver me, O Jesus.
From the fear of making difficult decisions; deliver me, O Jesus.
From the fear of illness and suffering; deliver me, O Jesus.
That others may be heard, even when their opinions differ from mine; Jesus grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be made comfortable at the cost of my own discomfort; Jesus grant me the grace to desire it.


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