Consecrated to the Heart of the Redeemer under the patronage of the Theotokos and Fr. Gerard Manley Hopkins, S.J.

02 March 2013

Eat, Drink, and Pray Merry (del Val)!

Now that we are in an "interregnum" period, sedevacantists all, it's en vogue to talk about cardinals.  One cardinal who is definitely not up for consideration in this conclave is Rafael Merry del Val, because he's been dead for over 80 years.  But he is actually up for consideration for sainthood: sixty years ago he was declared "Servant of God," which is the first step in the canonization process.

The "Litany of Humility" is his most popular work.  It is found in the "Pieta" book which has made its way among pious circles.  While I do not qualify to converse among the pious, I do enjoy reading their literature.

One writer saw fit to amplify the Litany with a segment of undesirable qualities, together with a plea for the grace of external and internal self-restraint.  That renovated version I present for your prayerful consideration.  Of course, they always say: "Be careful what you pray for!"

O Jesus, meek and humble of heart, Hear me.

From the desire of being esteemed, Deliver me, Jesus.
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, Deliver me, Jesus.
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,

From seeking to impress people with my actions, Jesus, grant me the grace to restrain myself.
From seeking to impress people with my words,
From seeking to impress people with my talents,
From seeking to know what people “in the know” know,
From participating in conversations that do not concern me,
From speaking the final word that lifts me up and puts others down,
From inflating myself upon learning of others’ misfortunes,
From acting on the desire to fix people and situations,

That others may be loved more than I, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
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,
This prayer is most appropriate to re-introduce to myself and to my readership upon the commencement of a conclave.  It hearkens to another timely truism: "He who enters a conclave as Pope comes out a cardinal."  Our recently retired Pontiff had something to say about the subject of "clerical careerism" to priests he was about to ordain.  One cardinal spoke well of this peril just a few months ago.

Humility as described above is just the kind of ideal that seems appropriate for a priest who would go on to such an office as Cardinal Secretary of State, working for a pope who would become a saint himself (Pius X)!  It's appropriate for anyone who, in any sense, dares to exercise the care of souls--both spiritual and physical parents.  One way or another, we end up as an example: of what to do, of what not to do.  To get to the point where we do what is right "just because," is to be "elevated" far beyond the rank of cardinal.  But for most of us it happens a step at a time, with stumblings aplenty.

It is well said that "humility isn't thinking less about yourself, but rather thinking about yourself less."  Thinking less about others' opinions of, or decisions concerning, you; not comparing other people's positions, talents, abilities, shortcomings to yours, whether to come out better or worse than they are; desiring that other people gain advantage (temporal and spiritual) over you--

Yikes!  "Had-caw," the Bostonites say.

The italicized addition to the litany concerns self-promoting attitudes and actions, most of which come back to bite you anyhow.  They appropriately describe what the prophet Joel calls a...

The newly elected Pope used to be treated to a rather alarming display, in which a master of ceremonies reminded him of Who was Boss.  (Why it reportedly stopped in 1963, I cannot fathom.  Maybe Twitter--or the communications media as a whole--has taken over as the reality-check.)

While we are adopting cardinals to pray for during this sacred time, we surely want to include the intention of humility.  It will be of just as much use to any of us.

In case you were wondering, the slight incongruity of the subject of this post (or the blog in general), and my attempts to promote it through networking sites, is not at all lost on me.  And I had to tell you that. 

:-) ]

"Therefore, whoever thinks he is standing secure should take care not to fall" (1 Cor 10:12).

1 comment:

  1. Thanks, Father! I always appreciated the original version of the Litany of Humility, but I truly NEED to pray the new version....(sigh). Thanks for sharing it!