Rafael Cardinal Merry de Val was a Cardinal under Pope Pious X (1865-1930) composed a beautiful prayer that was shared with me by a colleague a little over a month ago. She warned us while handing it out that the prayer can be very powerful and has a tendency to sneak up you. She was so right!
Last week, while our principal was away celebrating her honeymoon, there was a particular (minor) disciplinary instance that I initially felt left out of. I had been under the impression that I was to be consulted in such matters. As I began to feel left out and disheartened, I felt a small nudge in my heart.
"From the desire of being consulted..."
As I have led the Prayer of Humility for the past two weeks, different lines have stood out to me and stayed with me. Instead of flinching when I feel left out, I am reminded that I want others to be preferred to me in everything. When my son reaches for another adult, I remember that I want others to be loved more than me. Praise is given to another for something I have also done... Jesus deliver me from the desire of being praised.
I can humbly say that I am not good at humility. But I also believe that Jesus will deliver me and provide me with the grace that I need so that I can become as holy as I should. I had no idea what I was really praying for. However, as time as gone by, I'm beginning to just barely understand the humility and service Jesus calls us to. Try incorporating this litany into your life, maybe for the upcoming Advent season? You'll be surprised by how powerful such a simple prayer can be.
In the New Testament, Jesus has many interactions with nameless women: the woman who touches his cloak, the daughter of the centurion, the weeping woman, and so on. Another well known, nameless woman is the Samaritan Woman or the Woman at the Well (John 4:4-29).
Jesus' time spent with her is one of the most honest, raw interactions we have between him and another person. She does not deny her sinfulness, admitting that she has no husband. She is acknowledges the difference between them as a Jew and as Samaritan and even denies Jesus a drink from the well. But she also stays and listens; she admits her ignorance and overcomes foolish pride to hear what this man, obviously a prophet, has to say.
Our interactions with Jesus and faith are often like the Samaritan Woman's: we don't realize what we are interacting with at first. But the important part is overcoming our pride and being able to admit that this is a moment for us to grow in faith rather than walking away. The Samaritan Woman could have easily laughed at Jesus' claim of Living Water. She could have been deeply hurt by his knowledge of sinful past. She could have reacted in many ways but she stayed and listened. She humbled herself before the wisdom of God and learned from God's Son.
When confronted with honest faith and teachings, how do you react? Many of us will resist, uncomfortable with the reality it makes us face about ourselves. We shut down when the sins being discussed sound very similar to our own. We put the readings and homilies out of our minds that struck a little too close to home. Instead of spending honest time with God in Adoration, quiet prayer and contemplation, we blast worship music and create our own interpretations of God's word that comforts us. But we are called to do more than that; we are called to humbly sit and listen.
Intercede through Mary today for the humility to sit and listen to her Son as the Samaritan Woman did. Ask for the grace to listen and learn, rather than turn away. An important part of our faith is listening to where God guides us rather than deciding for ourselves what we need to do and hear.