Sunday, August 29, 2010

Pride In Expectation


Claim no honor in the king's presence, nor occupy the place of great men; for it is better that you be told, "Come up closer!" than that you be humbled before the prince,
~Proverbs 25:6~7

Reflecting on today's Mass readings, the message is very clear; it is that of humility. Almost every saint has had something to say on this virtue, seeing it as the foundation of all the other virtues. Important as it is, it is also one of the most difficult to cultivate. Our society sees it as a weakness when in reality it is a sign of strength.
Our Lord's words in today's Gospel keep playing over in my mind; those words about taking the lowest place at the table. These words made me think of something else our society seems to be filled with~ disappointment.
I have asked myself why this is and the only answer I can come up with is that many people today seem to have an attitude of entitlement and expectation. All of it is pride which is the opposite of humility. I am not saying that we shouldn't have certain expectations in life, but that sense of "the world and all those in it owe me" is at the root of people's disappointment. Jesus gives us the antidote to this by telling us to take the lowest place. For by doing this, it is quite possible that we will be asked to come higher and be given more than we expected.
Having expectations that are too high, either of ourselves or others, will surely lead to disappointment. If we humble ourselves first, letting go of the sense of entitlement, we will be asked to come higher and be given more than we ever hoped for~ perhaps not in this life, but most certainly in the next at the heavenly banquet Our Lord has prepared.
Whenever my pride seems to be getting the best of me, I say the Litany of Humility. Mother Teresa and her sisters recited this prayer daily. I have to admit that it is not an easy prayer to pray and mean. Often I will concentrate on one line or section of it depending on where my life is lacking humility.
The other thing that puts me back in my proper place is God's words to Catherine of Siena: "I Am Who Am, you are she who is not." That is true humility; knowing who God is and who we are not.
Jesus and His Mother are our best examples of how to live out humility. May we follow their example as the saints surely did.

The Litany of Humility
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 ...
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.

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…

8 comments:

Robert B said...

Lovely post, Karinann. You have a gift of getting to the heart of the matter in few words: a gift I must pray harder for, apparently. ;-)

Thank you for including the Litany of Humility.

Oh, and that quote of Our Lord to St. Catherine of Siena is priceless :)

Karinann said...

Robert,
Thank you for your kind words. That quote to Catherine of Siena is actually from her Dialogue and it came straight from the Father Himself. Sorry- should have made that clear in the post- see sometimes few words need a few more :)
God bless!

Michael said...

Thank you for that prayer and that quote! I had never read those words spoken to Catherine, but they are quite powerful.

God Bless.

Colleen said...

Beautiful post. Thank you for that quote - I love it! I think I will put it up on my mirror! Thanks for the litany too. Hugs!

Robert B said...

Ah, but Karinann, Jesus said "whoever sees Me sees the Father." So, I still got the essence of the Father's words in your few, meaningful words. Still, it makes it so interesting that you included that detail that it was the Father speaking. I must read the Dialogue of St. Catherine some day. I never have! Thanks. :)

Karinann said...

Thanks everyone for your thoughts on this post. Yes, that quote to catherine of Siena is quite powerful; it's like a splash of cold water in the face to put us back in our proper place.
Blessings to you all!

Victor S E Moubarak said...

Oh Lord it's hard to be humble ... when the rest of the world expects you not to.

This is a great post and a great reminder. Thanx Karinann.

God bless.

Karinann said...

I agree, Victor! I actually found it difficult to write on these readings.

Closing Prayer

Psalm 45: Canticle of Love to the King

My heart overflows with a good theme;
I address my verses to the King;
My tongue is the pen of a ready writer.
You are fairer than the sons of men;
Grace is poured upon Your lips;
Therefore God has blessed You forever.

Gird Your sword on Your thigh, O Mighty One,
In Your splendor and Your majesty!
And in Your majesty ride on victoriously,
For the cause of truth and meekness and righteousness;
Let Your right hand teach You awesome things.
Your arrows are sharp;
The peoples fall under You;
Your arrows are in the heart of the King’s enemies.

Your throne, O God, is forever and ever;
A scepter of uprightness is the scepter of Your kingdom.
You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness;
Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You
With the oil of joy above Your fellows.
All Your garments are fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia;
Out of ivory palaces stringed instruments have made You glad.
Kings’ daughters are among Your noble ladies;
At Your right hand stands the queen in gold from Ophir.