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Litany of Humility

The Litany of Humility is a prayer that invites us to follow Jesus more closely by letting go of our selfish desires and fears. It helps us focus on what truly matters—becoming more like Jesus in our everyday lives. This prayer is not just words; it is a call to change our hearts and to love others more than ourselves.

When we pray the Litany of Humility, we ask Jesus to help us overcome the desire for personal praise and the fear of being overlooked. Each line of the prayer is a step toward greater freedom. This freedom comes from trusting God’s plan for us, rather than worrying about our status or what others think of us.

This prayer also teaches us about true humility. Humility is not thinking less of ourselves; it is thinking of ourselves less. By focusing on others’ needs and God’s will, we can live more generously and compassionately. The prayer encourages us not to compete with others, but to hope for their success even more than our own.

Ultimately, the Litany of Humility leads us to a deeper peace. When we stop striving for attention and start hoping for the good of others, we find the peace that Jesus promised to His followers. This peace is deep, lasting, and rooted in the love of God. It frees us to love others without reservation or hesitation.

Discovering the Litany of Humility

The Litany of Humility is a prayer that was written by Cardinal Merry del Val, the Secretary of State for Pope Saint Pius X, around the early 1900s. Cardinal del Val served under Pope St. Pius X, who was known for his humility and devotion to the Catholic Church. The prayer reflects the Cardinal’s deep spiritual life and his desire to be more like Jesus, who is meek and humble of heart.

A litany is a form of prayer used in Christian worship that involves a series of petitions, each followed by a fixed response from the congregation or person praying. Litanies are often recited responsively and are used in various Christian liturgies. The repetitive nature of a litany helps to reinforce the spiritual desires or pleas, making it a meditative form of prayer that can deepen one’s focus and devotion.

This prayer is unique because it focuses not just on asking for things for ourselves but also on praying for the ability to rejoice in the blessings others receive. It challenges us to grow in love and humility, aligning our hearts with God’s will. The litany helps us to let go of selfishness and embrace a life of deeper service and joy in God’s plan.

Biblical Foundations and Impact on Youth Ministry

The Litany of Humility ties closely to many Biblical themes, particularly those that emphasize service, selflessness, and trust in God. Jesus Himself taught that “the last shall be first, and the first last” (Matthew 20:16), which encourages believers to seek humility over worldly status. Similarly, Philippians 2:3 tells us to “do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.” These teachings form the core of the Litany of Humility, urging us to place others’ needs and spiritual well-being above our own.

In Catholic catechesis, the Litany of Humility can be a powerful tool to illustrate the importance of virtues like humility and selflessness. It teaches us to rely on God’s strength and guidance rather than our own, echoing Proverbs 3:5, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” This prayer aligns well with the Catholic understanding of living a life modeled after Christ, who is the perfect example of humility and love.

For youth ministry, the Litany of Humility is especially beneficial. Young people today are often caught in a culture of competition and comparison, driven by social media and peer pressure. Introducing them to this prayer can help them find value in authenticity and simplicity. It encourages them to focus on what truly matters—developing a character that reflects God’s love and mercy. By learning to prioritize others and embrace humility, young people can build healthier relationships and grow in their faith journey.

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.

More Resources

Litany of Humility in Song by Danielle Rose

Danielle Rose’s musical rendition of the Litany of Humility transforms the prayer into a beautiful song, making its powerful message more accessible and engaging. By setting this prayer to music, Danielle Rose helps listeners connect with the themes of humility and selflessness on a deeper emotional level. This format allows the prayer’s plea for divine assistance in overcoming pride and fear to resonate more profoundly. Music can be a powerful tool in prayer, and Danielle Rose’s song is a perfect example of how melodies can enhance the spiritual experience of traditional prayers.

I Shall Not Want by Audrey Assad

Audrey Assad’s song “I Shall Not Want” draws inspiration from the Litany of Humility, although it does not match the text word for word. This song beautifully captures the essence of seeking freedom from the binds of fear and desire through God’s grace. Assad’s lyrics delve into the heart’s deep fears and the soul’s yearning for divine deliverance, making it a poignant musical reflection on humility and dependence on God. It’s an evocative piece that extends the prayer’s themes into a broader exploration of human vulnerability and spiritual longing.

Catholic prayers

More Catholic Prayers

If you are looking for more prayers like the Litany of Humility, visit the Catholic Prayers page on this site. There, you will find a variety of prayers that can help you in your daily life and spiritual growth. The Litany of Humility is just one of the many prayers available. Each prayer on this page can support you in different aspects of your faith journey, offering words of comfort, guidance, and a way to connect more deeply with God.

Questions and Answers

What is the Litany of Humility?

The Litany of Humility is a prayer that asks for help in overcoming self-centered desires and fears, focusing instead on growing in humility and love for others.

Who wrote the Litany of Humility?

Cardinal Merry del Val, who served under Pope Saint Pius X, wrote the Litany of Humility in the early 20th century.

What does calumniated mean?

This term was much more common a century ago. To be calumniated is to have someone maliciously make false statements about you.

How can the Litany of Humility help me in my daily life?

The Litany of Humility can help you focus less on seeking approval and fear of rejection, guiding you to live more freely and lovingly towards others.

Can the Litany of Humility be prayed in a group?

Yes, the litany format is well suited for group prayer.

Conclusion

The Litany of Humility is a prayer that asks for God’s help in achieving true humility. It was written by Cardinal Merry del Val, who served Pope Saint Pius X. This prayer addresses the deep desires and fears that can lead us away from God, such as the need for approval and the fear of being overlooked. By asking for deliverance from these feelings, the prayer helps us focus on living more like Jesus.

The litany is structured in two parts. The first part seeks freedom from desires that tie us to pride, such as wanting to be praised or feared being forgotten. The second part of the prayer encourages us to wish for the good of others above our own, hoping for their success and spiritual growth even more than for ourselves.

By praying the Litany of Humility, we ask to decrease in self-importance and increase in love for others. This prayer invites us to embrace a life of service and humility, aligning our hearts with God’s will. It challenges us to find peace not in earthly recognition but in divine grace and love.

Your Turn

We invite you to share your experiences with the Litany of Humility in the comments section below. Whether you’re new to this prayer or have been reciting it for years, we’d love to hear how it has impacted your life. Your stories can inspire others to explore this powerful prayer and discover its benefits in their own spiritual journeys.

Please comment and let us know how the Litany of Humility has helped you grow in faith and humility.

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