“Though fasting, prayer, almsgiving, temperance, any other good thing whatever, be gathered together in thee; without humility all fall away and perish.” St. John Chrysostom
(great quote for Lent)
Interesting that one of the first things I read this morning is the Beatitudes. And the first Beatitude is the one I have the most difficulty with, “Blessed are the poor in spirit; for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven” (Matt. 5:3). Ah… Humility *sigh* I had stopped praying the Litany of Humility many months ago, probably last summer. It was too hard. Here it is:
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 may become as holy as I should… Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
Wow. Like patience it is one of the hardest virtues to pray for for yourself. Recently I shared my prayer regiment I do every morning in a little show and tell for the last Catechism of the Catholic Church class. We all had to share something we got out of the class and I decided to share how 1 Thes. 5:17 has been speaking to me. I wasn’t even going to bring up that I had stopped praying the Litany of Humility but there she was, the card I received at Secular Franciscan meeting last year, staring up at me. And so I stated, “Oh, The Litany of Humility. I don’t pray that anymore. It’s like praying for patience..hahahah” and everyone laughed. But what I didn’t realize was that the teacher of the class, Teresa, my good friend and fellow Secular Franciscan, had something to share with me about this Litany.
The other day before mass she pulled me over and told me what the Holy Spirit had impressed on her heart about me and the Litany. She told me that she had been praying for me about the Litany of Humility since last year when I had expressed how hard it was to pray “From the desire of being loved” … now I don’t remember saying this (I’m sure I did, I just don’t remember) and I was floored that she has been praying for me about this one line I could not understand… praying for me for almost a year… WOW. Sure I pray for people… but I did not know and/or realize she was doing this. How wonderfully awesome! It blows me away! Thank you Lord for bringing me here to this town, to this Parish, to Teresa’s classes and to the Greccio Fraternity! What a blessing (but I digress!)! She stated that had she prayed that she could find a way to help me understand this line … and this week the Holy Spirit impressed upon her to tell me (I hope I don’t get this wrong, I asked her to tell it to me twice, but my memory is not that great), “If you do things for others so that they will love you you are doing it for the wrong reasons. You need to do things for others and not expect anything in return.” Love and serve God by loving and serving others. Now I KNOW this, I thought to myself … but then why is it being brought to me again? Because… I might KNOW it… but do I really LIVE it? Hm.
I have always wanted to stand out. I have wanted recognition for the things I have done, “Look what I did!” Just look at who I was back in high school and college. I was always wearing the crazy outfits and for one year I had a blond and then a purple Mohawk (yes, yes I did). I never liked that people said, “She’s just going through a phase,” (I was) and that, “She just wants attention,” (I would deny it, but yes I did want attention). I still desire attention. I am the opposite of humble (proud). I am that big boy Stuart from Mad TV, “Look what I can do!” HA!
When I first came back to the faith I read the book The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren five times. The line that struck me every time was one of the first lines in the book, “It’s not about you.” ‘Dang… what… wait…it’s not?’ No. Its not. That line always caught me off guard and knocked me off my pedestal. I had always lived a very “I, me, mine” selfish life. Even after all these years of prayer, study and reflection I still have not fully shoved off my pride. I understand that I should… but I haven’t. I know it, life, should be about God: loving and serving him by loving and serving others. Honoring God, glorifying God, praising God, thanking God … I do… I do … I do… by loving and serving others… I … do I?
So recently I started this blog but what I found was that not too many people were reading and/or responding to it… and that (again) floored me. “Hey! I’m writing something over here!!!” <crickets> And then God spoke to me about this, “Kelly,” … “Yes, Lord,”…. “ Who are you writing for?” … “For you God.”… “Okay. So does it matter if no one reads it but me?” … “Um… no I guess not. It’s for you and only you. It doesn’t matter.” … I say this… but does it still bother me? (yes).
I have also written a collection of twenty-three pro-life Catholic short stories, all inspired by God mind you, and for years I have prayed and asked God, “What would you like me to do with them? How should I get them ‘out there’?” and so far… nothing. I have not gotten a clear direction, a clear sign. No one seems to want to publish a collection of pro-life short stories. Most Catholic publishers don’t publish fiction and if they do they refuse to publish short stories. So where does that leave me? Lord what do I do? Have you given me a sign and I am just blind (an idiot) and I don’t see it? Or do you want me to just step out in faith? Is the timing wrong? Should I wait? Is it too late? Have I not tried hard enough? I don’t know. I thought since He gave me these ideas to write about he would also give me a CLEAR way to get them out there.
I am frustrated… and then the idea of “Are they any good?” also haunts me… I know some friends have read them and stated they liked them.. and some others have not responded as to whether they even read or liked them. What if they didn’t like them?… what if they just STINK? Was this all a waste of time? … and here I am again.. all whoa is me… LOOK WHAT I DID! …ANYONE?!!! …And I expect everyone to look… hm. Pride, Kelly, pride.
God again, “Does it matter if no one reads them?” …. “Okay God… no it doesn’t matter,”… “Patience Kelly, patience”
So here I stand in the middle of Lent… with humility (and patience?!) staring me in the face once again. I can see what God wants me to work on this next month. For fasting on liquids on Fridays was an EPIC FAIL… so fasting from SELF is what I really need to do. DO for others. THINK of others. PRAY for others. LOVE others without thinking what I will get out of it…
You see Humility is not thinking less of yourself it is thinking of yourself less.
Lord, help me…