Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Feb. 21, 2017: Divine Mercy Week 1 - Speak Little of Yourself

Feb. 21, 2017: Divine Mercy Week 1 - Speak Little of Yourself

“Tell me about yourself.” It’s a common question asked of us, in job interviews, when encountering someone new, or setting up our profile on Facebook. What do you want the world or others to know about you? It’s now very easy to disclose to complete strangers on the internet who you are, what you’re thinking, what you love to do, and what your preferences are. We capture every thought and activity of our day via a photo or video and then post on the internet for everyone to see. Should we be concerned about how much of ourselves we disclose to others? There is certainly a danger of aggrandizing ourselves beyond who we truly are or even make ourselves appear as someone whom we are not.


In today’s Gospel the disciples were arguing about who is the greatest. Likely, each disciple was tempted to think too highly of himself. Then Jesus chills the whole conversation by saying, "If anyone wishes to be first, he shall be the last of all and the servant of all." Often times we are like the disciples too. We compare ourselves with others and desire their praise. The appetite for glory and greatness seems to be inbred in us. Who doesn't cherish the ambition to be "somebody" whom others admire rather than a "nobody"? Yet Jesus knows how detrimental seeking glory is to our spiritual life. Once we begin to focus on ourselves, our whole trajectory of life veers away from loving God with all our mind and heart.

What can we do to ground ourselves in humility? We can begin with prayer and scripture, to spend quality time with the Lord, seeking only His approval. Mother Teresa offered her sisters a guidance in the practice of humility. She said, “Speak as little as possible about yourself.” Her advice grounds us from desiring approval and admiration of others by not speaking so much about ourselves. The one who truly knows us is God who dwells within us. He knows the truth of who we are. We need to speak to Him who can safeguard us from temptations of pride.

The theme of this year’s Divine Mercy masses will be humility. Why humility? Because as we have learned from the Saints, humility is the gate and the path toward Heaven. Jesus says in the scriptures that we will not enter the kingdom of heaven unless we become like a child. A little child knows how little she is, so she always has an attitude of dependence on others.

How do we cultivate humility? During this 9-week Divine Mercy mass and chaplet, we will ask Our Lord for the gift and the virtue of humility. Before every mass, we will recite together the Litany of Humility. This litany touches on how we desire to be esteemed and loved by others at the expense of humility.

Let us now recite the Litany of Humility.

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…