Litany of Humility

God looked over the world for an empty heart - a heart that was empty like a flute on which He could pipe a tune... and the emptiest heart He could find was the heart of a lady.  Since there was no self there, He filled it with His Very Self.
— Caryll Houselander, The Reed of God (1944)

Epiphany greetings to dearest Sisters in Christ...

Am trusting that Advent served you to prepare for a Christmastide that was amply filled with all things good, true and beautiful! And if challenges were threaded through the days, we have a pledge that our benevolent Lord will work all things for good. Heartfelt prayers for a Blessed and Prosperous New Year in the Lord for each of you. Truly, truly, the best is yet to be! Grace upon grace... 

My commitment as a Lay Missionary of Charity involves a concentrated prayer discipline. Along with Mass and other prayers, each day includes a Litany.  On Tuesday it is the Litany of Humility. In those early weeks (2007) into months as an LMC, I dreaded this Litany.  I often skipped it. One day I confessed to a locally-assigned Missionary of Charity Sister about my troubles in praying what I sensed I did not understand - and further, did not really desire.  Sr Lucinta smiled and offered a sincere and penetrating look, it seemed, into my soul. She took my hand and added, "Don't worry, I will pray this litany for you every Tuesday for two years, then you will come to know it." Deal!  

In the ensuing months, fruits of the Litany painfully presented themselves to me, causing me to ask Sister to ease up on the regularity of prayer.  While I was sensing the opportunities to grow in this virtue, the wellspring of all virtues, I also sensed I was squandering the graces and all-too-often living in opposition to humility. Her ready response: a smile.  For her, a deal is a deal.  A hope is the strongest of hopes.

Today I pray the Litany of Humility on Tuesdays. Some weeks it remains acutely and tenderly demanding. With that said, I am comforted that I have grown in the graces to pray it, albeit infrequently live it. Nonetheless, gratitude endures for Sr Lucinta's generosity, foresight and wisdom in partnership in prayer ten plus years ago...

William Ullathorne in his classic The little book of humility and patience (1908) - (later resurrected by Sophia Press as Patience and Humility) - pens, "When humility finds nothing in itself to rest upon, it finds its true center, and that center is God." Our Lady's example is perfect in this.  She is that empty vessel, allowing the fill-to-the-brim-and-more of God Himself.  Mary is full of grace!  Ullathorne concurs, "He who is truly humble, truly empty of himself, is a vessel of election to God, full to overflowing with His benedictions. He has only to ask to receive still more. He is the child of all the Beatitudes: poor in spirit, meek of heart, and hungering and thirsting for justice."  

This orientation is surely something I readily recognize in Our Blessed Mother, likewise recognized in Sr Lucinta and similarly recognize in so many Seven Sisters! It seems that Dutchman Jacob Maris, aptly captures through paint stroke this heart of a Seven Sister in his work,Girl seated outside a house.  A Seven Sister intercessor, like this reflective girl in the painting,  knows the value and necessity of emptying herself in anticipation of God's assistance, His filling, for her Holy Hour. She heartily cherishes a serious recollection both before and after her prayer.  It is inherent in the offering.  She does not tire nor depart from its discipline. One can almost imagine the purposed divine rays of the tabernacle in the far off church affecting the heart of this young and open one. And so the same for a Seven Sister.... giving and receiving, receiving and giving. 

Our Faith affords us innumerable opportunities of growth in humility.  Our duty to prayer is foremost.  We confront ourselves as we really are.  We learn our littleness, our nothingness in the Light of Christ, and at the same while, our belovedness in that same Light.  Both realizations grow our humility! Our sacramental life so too cultivates humility: dipping our fingers in the waters of Baptism, signing ourselves, bending the knee to our King, soliciting the aid of the Saints in our intercessions, believing that our Savior has humbled Himself to the extent of Bread placed upon our tongues, adoring that same Jesus Hostia in tiny chapels of our churches.  The world shakes its head in pity for such foolishness.  While our bodies remain on the earth (the humus - root word of humility), our spirits take heavenly flight in these seemingly petit acts to accept the fruits of our labors of love and joy - accepting a greater reality of humility, that which was exemplified by our Lord Himself, meek and humble of heart.   

"Humility is the mother of all virtues: purity, charity and obedience.  It is in being humble that our love becomes real, devoted and ardent.  If you are humble nothing will touch you, neither praise nor disgrace, because you know what you are. If you are blamed you will not be discouraged.  If they call you a saint you will not put yourself on a pedestal." - St Mother Teresa of Calcutta

Embracing our mission as Seven Sisters to pray for the sanctity of priests assuredly enrolls us in the school of humility. We rely on both the direction of the Holy Spirit for our prayer offerings and for their answers.  If led in your prayer times to do so: consider to pray for humility for both the priest or bishop for whom you are committed to pray - and for yourself.  Our growth in virtue, and this (humility) the wellspring of all virtue, is a struggle against our frailty, but St Paul reminds us that there is triumph over weakness in Christ (II Cor2:14). Here is the Litany of Humility mentioned earlier, composed by Rafael Cardinal Merry del Val (1865-1930), Secretary of State for Pope St Pius X:

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…

I have Holy Cards of this Litany that I will happily send FREE to anyone who sends me a SASE (self-addressed stamped envelope).  

My address: Janette Howe, 43 Nord Circle Road, St Paul, MN 55127

United in prayer and mission -  

that our prayers may find the heart of every bishop and priest...

... eternal gratitude continues as you each remember to offer a wee Hail Mary for me every day....  Pray that I will not 'spoil the beautiful work that God has entrusted...'  (St Mother Teresa)  

...your kind emails and notes and generous support always arrive to my heart door at the right moment! Eternal gratitude is mine for YOU!  Be assured of my continued daily prayers for you at the altar.

Janette
+JMJ+

 

  Girl seated outside a house  ~ Jacob Maris (1876)

Girl seated outside a house ~ Jacob Maris (1876)

SEVEN SISTERS
- in and out and about:  

RAISING AWARENESS: Let us together remain open to starting groups for priests that are perhaps less visible (those not in a traditional parish setting).  Examples: Hospital Chaplains, Military Chaplains, Monasteries, Professors in Universities, School Chaplains, Retirement Home Chaplains, Canon Lawyers, priests serving in Seminaries, Chanceries,  Exorcists, and Retired priests. If you sense a call to this Apostolate, there is a priest or bishop who needs your prayers!

Help needed: Contact me directly (joy2day2u@aol.com or Web site) if you have a gift in any of these areas:

1) Setting up a better format of sending these Communiques.  Perhaps utilizing Constant Contact or a similar system. I lack both time and know-how.

2) Setting up a Book study of The Priest is Not His Own (Sheen) through the Web site - or at least linked to it. (I have not forgotten nor lost hope... and there is a willing Seven Sister Anchoress who I entrust to this duty).

3) Interest in submitting your original art (paint, sketch, etc) for use in designing note cards for the Apostolate furtherance.  The back of these blank note cards will have a unique prayer for priests, the name of the artist/her involvement (state/country, maybe parish?) in the Apostolate and also give reference to the Apostolate: its mission and Web info.  It will be a way of passively spreading the good news  of the Apostolate, encouraging prayer for priests, and a way of securing some funds for the Apostolate. 

REMEMBRANCE of those SEVEN SISTERS who have PASSED: We want to remember those Seven Sisters in name and in prayer, who have gone before us to their eternal rest. Visit the Web site. Click on ABOUT folder and scroll to bottom, choose: IN REMEMBRANCE.  Follow prompts... OR you may submit info via the Website email or to my email address. Please monthly check site for additions!

AHEAD on the calendar:

> Lorrie E will staff an informational booth at the Beauty in Christ Women's Conference in Cedar Rapids, IA, on January 27, 2018 (8 am - 3 pm) 

> Serra Club (MN) February 2018

> Informational: February 2018 (St Paul)

> EWTN spot  (TBD)

> Day of Recollection: Cedar Rapids, Iowa. 17 March, 2018.  Theme: Getting to Know our Patrons (Fr Spencer Howe and Janette will be among speakers)

New groups forming in Kansas and Arizona!  Watch the map for updates!

> Gatherings in North Dakota, Georgia, Nebraska, Florida remain in the prayer/discernment stage.

SPANISH translation of Communique:  This is generously done every month by Zahyra B, Anchoress for a Seven Sisters group in Venezuela.  They are then posted (and archived) on the Website.  If it is easier to receive through an email account, please let me know.