Before Lent began this year a certain theme kept coming to me: humility. And in more than one place the Litany of Humility prayer was brought in front of me. It seemed as if I was being nudged to pray this prayer. So began my Lenten daily praying of the litany.
Most people have probably heard the comment, “don’t pray for patience because God will send you trials” but in terms of praying for humility, only one friend has ever made a comment. Her advice, “Don’t!” Maybe there is no quick retort for the virtue of humility because people don’t think much about it. Maybe it seems to humbling or possibly presumptuous to pray such a prayer. Honestly, I was unsure why I needed to pray this prayer. I’ve not considered myself overly prideful yet there are those running jokes about how I am a “snob” in regard to certain things. Of course, my opinion is that I know the way things should be done!
Upon honest reflection I clearly needed to pray this prayer. And I have been, every day. And for a few weeks nothing seemed different. And then one day I went to work and all of a sudden, bam, bam, bam! A few times, it felt more like humiliation than humbling. My knowledge was questioned, not nicely but in a way that quickly made me realize that reason or facts would not help the conversation. Emails came telling me of great news for other people in regard to career and life changes. Events I had planned were cancelled because of lack of interest. My insignificance in my own life seemed overwhelming. My ability to make a difference seemingly gone in a few weeks’ time.
Why was this happening to me? Was God humbling me or humiliating me? Was he trying to hurt me? Of course not; first of all, I was willingly praying for true humility. Second, he was pointing out to me in ways that mattered to me, that he is in charge. On my last birthday a friend gave me a card that said, on the outside, “Once upon a time a very special person was born who was destined to change the world.” On the inside it said, “Calm down. It’s not you. It’s JESUS.” And that, in a funny way, sums up why we need humility!
I am still praying the prayer and will continue indefinitely. Why? Because it puts my needs, my desires, my abilities, my will and all my sins in the proper perspective. Each day as I pray, a different line hits me and I am called to work on that for a day or more. One virtue to cultivate so that I remember that my life is not all about me, but rather it is a gift from God and what I do with my life is my gift back to him.
Copyright 2016 Deanna Bartalini