Notes of Love

“Accustom yourself continually to make many acts of love, for they enkindle and melt the soul.”
— St. Teresa of Avila

Today I am finishing my letters to the girls who will be attending the Epiphany gathering (a retreat program for incarcerated youth). I write a letter to each girl with words I hope will encourage them on their spiritual journey. Some of these girls have never received a letter or a card unless it was a summons to appear in court.

The key element of the Epiphany event is to try and model the love of Jesus for them. Many have no real idea of what love is about. So have had the world love used to abuse them. Some perceive love as being someone’s possession. Most have almost no inclination of just how much God really does love them.

I know that in the next three days I am going to see several of these girls’ souls melt from the fire of love God will send their way. We will have a birthday party for these girls. Some have never had a birthday party. We will give them small gifts and personal items that the institution will allow them to have. We will feed them pizza, chicken strips, roast brisket and all kinds of sweets and other goodies they normal do not get to have. We do this to show them that even though we are strangers, we are also the hands and feet of Jesus to them this weekend.

There will also be times of telling, not preaching, the story of the Gospel. We will do dramas, have talks, and set around tables of small groups and talk about God, about Jesus, Mary, and the disciples. Those of us who volunteer for this work will get to see God do some miracles.

If you would not mind, please pray for the girls who will attend that they will experience the love of the Lord through strangers who we hope someday will be brothers and sisters in Christ. Thank you!

Choices

“He who wishes for anything but Christ, does not know what he wishes; he who asks for anything but Christ, does not know what he is asking; he who works, and not for Christ, does not know what he is doing.”
— St. Philip Neri

This morning’s lectio reading was the account of the death of John the Baptist. It is a story full of horrible choices and their outcomes. A young girl dances and the King makes a bad choice to give her whatever she wants. The girl makes a bad choice to ask her mother what she should have the King give her. The mother makes a bad choice out of anger and malice and thus John the Baptist is killed.

It is hard to be what we were created to be. It is hard to deal with our broken, flawed process of living that creates desires and makes decisions. Because it is hard, we often just go with the flow of our emotion or experiences, our events or environments.  Thus we easily can make horrible decisions that have lasting consequences.

I regret that I did not learn about spiritual discernment until later in my life. I am firmly convinced that seeking to make choices based on discerning the spirits is one of the most important disciplines we can learn as followers of Jesus. To seek to understand and faithfully respond to the will of God for one’s life is the greatest discipline we can acquire. But, it is not the easy, wide road many try to take. It is the difficult, narrow path. It takes commitment, study, patience, and much, much prayer. It is a living process.

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God– what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Rom. 12:2 NRS)

As I think back over the bad decisions I have made, I realize I made them when I had neglected my spiritual disciplines.  I let other desires steal my focus away from where it should have been directed. I let one foolish decision lead to another and before long the consequences were painful.

As we become more committed, more faithful to the spiritual practices of discernment, the more we realize that it is not just good decisions we are making, but we are entering into a life of joy and peace no matter what our circumstances and/or situations. This is what our Lord wants for us.

Those who are spiritual discern all things, and they are themselves subject to no one else’s scrutiny. “For who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ. (1 Cor. 2:15-16 NRS)

Consecrated Communion

“Whenever we receive Communion, we enter into communion with the Holy Trinity. Did anybody ever tell you that? With each reception of Holy Communion, we experience, already here on earth, the same divine activity that we will one day experience in all its fullness in heaven—the divine activity of love eternally taking place within the Trinity . . . God wants to live his triune life in us. We are called to be dwelling places for the Holy Trinity and to enter into a personal relationship with each of the persons in God.”
— Vinney Flynn, p. 27-8
AN EXCERPT FROM, 7 Secrets of the Eucharist

I bow at the rail, , my knees bend and rest on the old cushions that has supported the knees of thousands of saint and worshippers. I clasp my hands together with my thumbs making the sign of the cross. I hold my head up as the celebrant comes my way.  I open my mouth wide, for I do not even dare touch the sacred bread. The celebrant puts the bread in my mouth. It is bread, but it is also more. It is a mystery. Father, Son, and Spirit are there.

In joy, I chew the bread. It is a gift I do not deserve. I am aware one of the celebrants thinks I should not be there. He judges me. I feel sorry for him. He thinks I should come to him and apologize. He has let a dark spirit move him and there is little I can do but pray for him.  He eyes me with a”how dare you” look. He believes he can read people, know their hearts. I trust the Scripture, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts.” (Ps. 139:23 NRS)  Thus I gladly take communion.

Now, another celebrant is bring a large goblet toward me. This is the cup of the new covenant,  If ever “wine was the gift of God that gladdens the hearts of men,” this wine is pure joy. It is the cup of the new covenant. The celebrant offers me the cup. I take hold of the goblet on the side and help the celebrant tip the cup so I might receive a simple taste of all of what the wine means. Joy and consolation fill me soul. I stand and return to the place I was sitting in this marvelous old structure made for such services as this.

We end the Mass with a word of unified prayer and a few other words from one of the celebrants. I get up to leave knowing I have been in the presence of the Holy One, the divine Trinity, Father, Son, and Spirit. I am leaving with a sense of joy which they have given me. My current struggle in this world is currently difficult, but each holy day, each time the mass is said, each Sunday, I can receive from God this gift. What greater joy can there be in this life.

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The Ancient Door

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This old red door leads to a place of holiness and joy. Sometimes, when I enter it, I am carrying burdens of distrust, betrayal, anger, sorrow, grief, hostility, and/or several other forms of sin and suffering. Yet, when I turn the old, semi-rusted knob and give the door a gentle push, those burdens, those issues of mine seem to go away. I walk through this door into a place when the body of Christ awaits me.

When I enter into the sanctuary to which this door provides access, I am coming to a place where I can lift my heart to God and God will care for it.  It is here in this place that I can let go the troublesome experiences I face or have faced. Here problems fade as the smell, the faint scent of incense from a past ceremony, reminds me I am here to be with God.

Since I am a member of the church were this door is, at one time I offered to paint this door. I found out that such work could only be approved by a certain group with authority and those I asked didn’t seem that interested in bringing it up at a meeting. It was a low priority even if I would have done the work and bought the paint. However, now, I am glad I was turned down. I love this door just as it is.

Why, someone might ask? Do you like getting turned down? No, I don’t. I have always wanted to do what I felt needed to be done. Yet, I have now reached an age when I can  discover that being told “no” can become a spiritual blessing. Now, when I see the door, I see it as a portrait of me. This door is not the main entrance. It is a simple side entrance that is used only by a few, mostly individual who can no longer climb stairs. It is worn by the weather, the changes from hot to cold, from dry to humid or wet from rain have help the sun cause the pain to peel and fade.

This is me. I have become worn. I have become faded, but not jaded, because of the conflicts, the insults, and the betrayals I have born. I am like that old door. For just like that old door, I have a purpose. I am a believer, a follower of the Way. I am one who can be a door for others. I don’t require as much upkeep. I do not have to be ostentatious or a  miasma of theological minutia.   I likely will never be the main entrance again. And, for now, I am glad that those who would be facing an uphill climb can find a easier path through me.

I want to be a door like this old door, always open, always available for those who need to come and find a place of peace and prayer. Besides, I don’t think a new coat of paint would make much difference on me or the door anyway.

“I know your works. Look, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut. I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name. (Rev. 3:8 NRS)

 

 

Contemplative Overflow

“Action relies upon contemplation for its fruitfulness; and contemplation, in its turn, as soon as it has reached a certain degree of intensity, pours out upon our active works some of its overflow. And it is by contemplation that the soul goes to draw directly upon the Heart of God for the graces which it is the duty of the active life to distribute. And so, in the soul of a saint, action and contemplation merge together in perfect harmony to give perfect unity to his life.”
— Dom Jean-Baptist Chautard, p. 62 AN EXCERPT FROM, Soul of the Apostolate

Ignatius of Loyola understands contemplation as time of prayer in which one seeks to join in the events of Scripture and then speaking to God the contents of our heart. Other spiritual teachers speak of it as a time of prayer like the centering prayer, a time of silence in the presence of God. As for me, I believe both these approaches and other forms that involve prayer and making God the center in which God can speak as well as be spoken to is active contemplation.

I very much beleive that contemplation is not just speculative navel-gazing. It is not in any way passive toward the commands of our Lord for our involvement in this broken, hurting, evil world. In fact, most of the contemplative people I know and have studied are very active in seeking to be salt and light in the world. They are people of compassion and care. People who not only speak out for justice, but seek to help bring it about through their own sacrifices and services.

When we read the twenty-third Psalm, use it in contemplative prayer, it is more than just kind, hopeful words spoken in a world of hostility and fear. It is about how God is present, leading, and giving to us all we need if we will but ask. And when our cup overflows, it is not about waste, but about sharing out of the abundance of grace we receive. I believe contemplation is a significant tool for completing the circle of love; God to us to other to God.

I lead a contemplative prayer group at the church I am attending. We begin each session with the following prayer:

Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and enkindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created.  And you shall renew the face of the earth.

This is the desire of active contemplative prayer that we are filled with the Spirit of God that brings us into the presence of God so we can be instruments of the will of God in this world. To be able to pray thus is a gift, a gift God always rewards and when we allow it, overflows.

 

 

 

Persevering Prayer

“Never give up prayer, and should you find dryness and difficulty, persevere in it for this very reason. God often desires to see what love your soul has, and love is not tried by ease and satisfaction.”
— St. John of the Cross

The lectio reading for this morning was from the gospel of Matthew. It concerned the young man who asked Jesus about what was required for eternal life.

As I contemplated this passage, I became aware of the real tragedy. The young man knew Jesus was right but he could not give up his perceived security. What a horrible place to be. Having the understanding, feeling the conviction, and knowing it was true but still not able to make the best, the right, decision. Yes, the young man when away sad.

In times of silent prayer, one may have to struggle against wave after wave of distracting thoughts. There may (will) be times in which you do not feel the presence of God. There will be times that you wonder when the time to end the prayer will come. A person may even wonder if such time of silent prayer is worth it.

These can be times in which desolation tests one’s resolve and commitment to prayer. It is a time of spiritual struggle, confronting doubts, and avoiding the dilemmas the deceiver puts before a person.

If your prayer is but a religious practice, it may not survive this trial. If your prayer has any other motive than the deepest desire to be with God, feelings or not, it will be difficult to endure. However, if you have listened to the word of God, if you really want to follow Jesus, to learn to love Jesus, these trials endured will only strengthen your faith and increase your love.

Usually during these times of dryness, I turn to the Jesus Prayer and focus on my breath to sustain me and hold my focus during the time of silence. Sometimes I modify the Jesus Prayer from my confession as a sinner to one of declaring God’s revealed love for me.

“Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, thank you for loving one like me.”

I repeat this over and over. I have found that no matter how dry and distant God may seem, this prayer will leave me satisfied that spending the time in silence was worth all the challenges and difficulties faced. Prayer is a gift. “Vocatus atque non vocatus, Deus aderit,” this I seek to always remember, “Bidden or not bidden, God is present.”

The young man received a direction from the Lord he would not accept and was sad. It is my desire and prayer to not let anything, especially a time of dryness, come before making my Lord first in my life. This is where I will find happiness.

Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. (Rom. 12:12 NRS)

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Love Involves Commitment

“There are two loves, the love of God and the love of the world. If the love of the world takes possession of you, there is no way for the love of God to enter into you. Let the love of the world take the second place, and let the love of God dwell in you. Let the better love take over.”
— St. Augustine, p. 34
AN EXCERPT FROM, Augustine Day by Day

I have no statistics to back this claim, but from my own experience the word love is one of the most misused words in the English language. Be it a seducer who uses the word “love” to get what they want in a shallow relationship, a parent to busy with their own interests to pay much attention to the child they “love,” or the politician who says he and a third world dictator have fallen in “love” during a meeting over nuclear weapons, the word love is misused and profaned.

Love is a noun and a verb. It is can be used as an adjective, a descriptive, of identity or activity. This short, four-lettered word is the most defining force in our lives. It is the power that holds the universe together. It is the future beyond our current time, space, matter reality. The Word that is love spoke and the world came into being. This love is a perfect unity in a Trinity that is One. Is it any wonder that which destroys would also want to lay its claim to its usage,

I have few doubts (I am being honest-in times of desolation we can question and doubt) that God loves me. I have no doubt God fashioned me. I have not doubt God gave me my life. I also have no doubt that my actions have caused God as much shame (likely more so) than joy. I am striving to learn to love God more. I know it takes commitment.

Love is not instantaneous. Love takes time to grow and mature in a human life. Love takes commitment, daily commitment.

In this world, the world who perverts love is continually trying to deceive, seduce, and replace any commitment we have to love God with its own worldly agenda. Because of this we face daily a challenge to choose between that which leads us closer to God and that which we perceive is what we should want.  This want, the desire is created by the illusions the world puts before us.

In order to counter the worlds lies, God became one of us. God loves us so much God seizes the initiative  to reach out to us in love, with love, and for love. God touches our hearts in ways the world, whose love is false, could never achieve.

Today is Sunday. Today I am given the opportunity of gathering with others who have discovered God’s love and I can join them in a special meal, a meal of thanksgiving, for the God who gave all for us. Today I choose God. It is my prayer God will help me choose the way of love and truth everyday, yet I know there will be times I will fail. But when I fail, unlike the world who walks on me, God will reach down and lift me up.

Thanks and glory be to God.

 

The Joy of the Scripture

“Reading the holy Scriptures confers two benefits. It trains the mind to understand them; it turns man’s attention from the follies of the world and leads him to the love of God. Two kinds of study are called for here. We must first learn how the Scriptures are to be understood, and then see how to expound them with profit and in a manner worthy of them . . . No one can understand holy Scripture without constant reading . . . The more you devote yourself to the study of the sacred utterances, the richer will be your understanding of them, just as the more the soil is tilled, the richer the harvest.”
— St. Isidore of Seville, p. 201
AN EXCERPT FROM, Witness of the Saints

There are many today who would say they are “spiritual directors” but would not make the Scripture the foundation of their work. Such are not “Christian” spiritual directors. They fail to understand the Word is the revelation of God to us through which we can understand the nature, love, and will of God for our lives.

I recently attended a study group that was discussing, The Screwtapes Letters, by C.S Lewis. In a discussion about where I was attending church, a critique of the denominational affiliation of the church I attend was that we mostly just prayed prayers. I asked the individual if he knew from where the majority of our prayers were taken. He said no. He seemed surprised when I told him they were from the Scripture.

When I have been allowed the pulpit (I am currently waiting and hope God will grant me that privilege again) my sermons are founded and fed by the Scripture. It is the authority through which I speak. When getting my doctorate, my focus in my seminar work and in my doctoral project was how to use the Scripture best in worship, not only in the sermon but in the songs and times of silence I felt were deeply important for true worship to transpire. I fully agree with St. Isidore, the more time a Christian can spend in the Scripture the richer their understanding of God and God’s will comes to us as we live our lives amidst a world errors and deceptions.

Currently, I am reading and living in the book of Lamentations. In the light of our current political leadership, cultural malaise, and individual idolatry, this book helps prepare me for what I am told by the media and what I encounter in everyday life. This is what the Scripture studied offers.

As a certified spiritual director, one of the first discussions I have with a directee is about their study time, devotional time and prayer time in the Scripture. If such things are not part of their spiritual development, I urge them through assignments and questions to move toward these things and discover just how much grow is offer there.

All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work.
(2 Tim. 3:16-17 NRS)

 

Lectionary Sermon for August 18 2019

But My Eyes Still See

There is a song, a love song by from the sixties entitled Silence Is Golden written by Bob Crewe and Bob Gaudio. At that time it was a very popular song. Listen to the lyrics:

Oh don’t it hurt deep inside
To see someone do something to her
Oh don’t it pain to see someone cry
How especially if that someone is her

Talking is cheap people follow like sheep
Even though there is nowhere to go
How could she tell he deceived her so well
Pity she’ll be the last one to know

How many times will she fall for his lines
Should I tell her or should I be cool
And if I tried I know she’d say I lied
Mind your business don’t hurt her you fool

Silence is golden
But my eyes still see
Silence is golden, golden
But my eyes still see
But my eyes still see
But my eyes still see

This is a song about love but love that hurts. It hurts because the beloved does not know the one who deeply cares for her is watching her being abused by another who is using her and is unfaithful to her. The words say, “Silence is golden” but the reality is that it is not.

The Old Testament passage today from the prophet Isaiah begins with these words, “Let me sing for my beloved my love-song concerning his vineyard” (Isa. 5:1 NRS) It too, is a song about watching a beloved be abused by those who are unfaithful. The prophet does not think silence is golden, and so he speaks.

Have you ever known someone with a broken heart? Maybe it was a friend, family member, peer or fellow worker. Perhaps you, yourself have had your heart broken by someone at some time. If you have not experienced this pain, the broken-ness, it is hard to know just how painful, how agonizing, how depressive it can be.

God reveals to his prophet Isaiah that the divine heart is broken. It is broken by God’s own people who treat God with contempt and have failed to be thankful for all God has done for them. Isaiah seeks to communicate the feelings of God through a story about a vineyard. Isaiah tells us a story of a vineyard that has been cared for lovingly and carefully, but instead of producing the fruit for which it was created, this vineyard produces nothing but bitterness and trouble.

The words of Isaiah let us know that Isaiah feels for God, his beloved God like the individual in the lyrics of the song. “Oh don’t it hurt deep inside/ To see someone do something to her/ Oh don’t it pain to see someone cry/ How especially if that someone is her. Isaiah not only feels the pain of God, he feels the betrayal of his own people, the people he serves. Do not the people of God understand how much pain and suffering they are causing not just to God, but to themselves as well? Why can they not see? Silence is not golden and the prophet’s eyes can see.
One of the saddest things about damaged relationships, is that often people do not realize the damage they do until the consequences of their actions catch up with them. It is so easy to say the wrong thing, make a foolish decision, ignore or simply pass by an opportunity for to express love or care or to take a loved one for granted.

I used to hate sitting down and doing a serious examination of my own life for I can remember so many times I have hurt, damaged, or neglected a relationship. I did not realize at the time just how important this relationship would be to me or just how much damage I had done through my actions. Oh how I wish I could change the things I did.

In the book of Psalms, Psalm 80 captures the anguish of the psalmist as the psalmist reflects on their situation the people were going though because of the grief they were causing God. It seems as if God has abandoned them. The psalmist, like Isaiah, also uses the example of a neglected vineyard. The Psalmist pleads with God to relent. The vineyard, the nation, the people were suffering. The problem is God is not the one who has brought this upon the people, God’s chosen unfaithful people. They brought it upon themselves. The had listened to their own desires and not God’s word. Now, they are facing the consequences of their actions. They are like the person in the lyrics,

“Talking is cheap people follow like sheep/ Even though there is no where to go/ How could she tell he deceived her so well/ Pity she’ll be the last one to know.”

“Silence is golden, but my eyes still see.”

The psalmist, however, expresses a desire for a new relationship, a restored relationship, a true reciprocal relationship and this is a step in the right direction. The psalmist cries out, “But let your hand be upon the one at your right hand, the one whom you made strong for yourself. Then we will never turn back from you; give us life, and we will call on your name. Restore us, O LORD God of hosts; let your face shine, that we may be saved. (Ps. 80:17-19 NRS)

The psalmist knows that God is a redemptive God. God is not a God who enjoys the pain of the people. God wants the relationship to be restored.

And what does ask of us for the relationship to be restored? God asks of us to have faith. Not a blind faith based just on words. God knows how words can be deceptive and a self-deceiving cover human beings sometimes try to use when we are afraid or are trying to get what we want. The type of faith God ask for us to have is a faith based on God’s actions, upon promises God has made and kept. The kind of faith we see in Hebrews 11:29-12:2. A faith that calls us to believe the great cloud of witnesses that surround us.

Listen again to the Holy Spirit as the Spirit speaks through the writer of Hebrews, “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Heb. 12:1-2 NRS)

This is the faith of a growing relationship. This is the faith that transcends the lies of this world and the deceptions which surround us. This is the truth we need. How often have God’s people of the past and the church of the present be misled by a false reality. How many time have we been like the one in the lyrics of the song, How many times will she fall for his lines/ should I tell her or should I be cool/ And if I tried I know she’d say I lied/ Mind your business don’t hurt her you fool.

Yes, the truth may hurt, but silence about God is not golden. Silence about Jesus is not golden. Silence is exactly what the powers and principalities want from those of us who know the truth, who have seen the light, and have felt the love. Even if they do not believe we must tell them. We must show them for they are our business.

In the gospel passage for this week Jesus himself tells us that we often will make people mad. We will face rejection and maybe even hurt a relationship, but we will not hurt it nearly as much if we keep silent about the human condition and the love the God has for all human beings. Yes there is a time for silence, but not when it effects the eternal destiny of those who we should love.

In the lyrics of the song the individual who is watching what is happening to the person knows it will not turn out well for them. The person knows the girl is being used. The person knows she is being lied too. The person knows she is going to be devastated when she finds out and she will find out. But the one who knows is more concerned about her feelings toward him. He is afraid to take a chance. Does this apply to us? Are we afraid to take a chance and tell people how this world leads us to lies and deceptions? Are we willing to tell those who are being seduced and spiritual abused?

The person in this song is trying to convince themselves silence is golden, but his own words reveal how this is not true. He states three times, but my eyes still see. In Luke Jesus tells use to pay attention to what we see. He tells us in this fallen culture there will be conflicts and crisis. We must pay attention and courageously act. We must responded to the need, to the truth.

Again, Silence may be golden, golden
But God’s eyes still see
But our eyes still see
But my eyes still see.

What will I do about it?

The Positive Power of Examination

“I believe we shall never learn to know ourselves except by endeavoring to know God, for, beholding His greatness we are struck by our own baseness, His purity shows our foulness, and by meditating on His humility we find how very far we are from being humble. Two advantages are gained by this practice. First, it is clear that white looks far whiter when placed near something black, and on the contrary, black never looks so dark as when seen beside something white. Secondly, our understanding and will become more noble and capable of good in every way when we turn from ourselves to God: it is very injurious never to raise our minds above the mire of our own faults.”
— St. Teresa of Avila, p. 17
AN EXCERPT FROM, Interior Castle

I love the work, the gift, that St. Teresa of Avila gave to all who would seek to draw closer to God. To study her work is like being given a map to a maze. The more we listen to what she has to say, the stronger we are in moving through the “rooms,” the stages that we must go through if we are to reach the perfection in love God has for us.

The above quote is a tool for examination. We human beings like to compare. We make it a competition. The problem is when we make it a competition with other human beings, we can become arrogant in our ignorance. Our ignorance is rooted in our sinfulness and our pride.

God has created us for his glory. That means we find our best in our being what we were created to be. We were made perfect. We were made good. This changed when our world became broken through arrogance and ignorance. We are called to come back to the good. However, we must have a measure, a standard by which we can tell how we are progressing. Through an sincere examination of our own hearts and lives on a regular (daily or more) basis in the light of God’s greatness and the actions of our lives, we can come to see just where we lack. When we look at the humility of Jesus and then compare our behaviors and attitudes we can more clearly see how we need to strive to progress even further.

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.

(Litany of Humility, Rev. Merry de Val)