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  • Deacon Dan Wright serves the Diocese of Austin, Texas. His work outside the parish is as a special education teacher serving students with significant cognitive disabilities.

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  • Family activities, spirituality, liturgy, Christian apologetics, social justice topics, special education issues, and promoting the peace and unity of the human family.
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« The Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary | Main | To Whom Do We Show Mercy? »

August 16, 2006

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forget me not

This is one of the most difficult aspects of my faith. It has taken me so long to learn to love myself, to even fathom the possibility that I am a jewel in God's eyes... and then I read prayers like this and think: I'm confused.

Honora

Well, FMN, this one surely ISN'T easy to pray, but a) there are folks who needed only a second in the mirror to fall in love with themselves to the exclusion of others, so perhaps it is better to start out seeing ourselves as less than, rather than as more than, because then one day we will sense Him clothing us with His own mantle to keep us from the chill of the grave: we may know more easily than others that we are cherished for no other reason than simply being ourselves, AS IS! And, b) if you changed the wording of this prayer, it might simply read, "Lord, keep me from the opposite of humility: pride," i.e., "Keep me from the desire of being equal to You; keep me from the fear of being seen as I am: less than You; keep me for Your own filling up of me, Lord-- help me to desire the emptying of self so I will be ready."

Deacon DW

Forget me not, I believe that we all should love ourselves because God loves us, and indeed we should consider ourselves to be jewels in the eyes of God.

I think the key to understanding the Litany is to be found in St. Paul's description of love. He says in 1 Cor. 13:5 "Love does not insist on its own way." Love, it appears, has more to do with our attitude toward others than toward how we feel about ourselves. Though certainly we should esteem ourselves as being worthy of God sending his only Son to die for us. Humility is the way to acheive the right order of the things we care for.

Another way of looking at it is to consider Jesus. Even though he was the Son of God he considered others first. He emptied himself, not of his esteem or position as the Son of God, but of the honor that it holds. He demonstrated humility in that although he was equal with God, rightfully the Eternal King, he chose to serve others by becoming a slave.

I don't think he gave up what it meant to be a jewel in God's eyes, nor did he fail to love himself. However, he chose to love us more than the glory that belonged to him.

Deacon DW

Honora, think about it... the words of the Litany of Humility are not that different from the Peace Prayer of St. Francis. "Grant that I may not so much seek to be loved as to love..."

It is true that the Litany is a difficult prayer. It forces us to examine our level of humility (and in all honesty mine is typically not where I would like it to be). It give me a goal, and it insists that I shatter my personal idols! But, "a little hard to pray" is putting it lightly.

Honora

Yes. :-) Shoot, you just started up that song in my head, DDW.

The one grace that allowed me to pray this prayer without selectively mumbling over some parts (uh, so that He may not grant all of it..lol) was to know I was unconditionally loved by God. Tho' I still kick up a fuss now and then, I know that I am cherished by the Lord of the Universe (as are we ALL.. !!) and so, how can I truly worry and fuss over Honora's wants or needs? He's got it covered. He's got US covered.

Gabrielle

The Litany reminds me very much of St. John of the Cross as well. But my goodness, what a long way I have to go. Deliver me even from the desire of being consulted? I won't mention that one to the family, at least not yet...

I will keep you in my prayers for the upcoming school year, Deacon Dan.

forget me not

deacon Dan, I just read these posts after I replied to your kind email.
*Thank you my good friends*

Honora

DDW, I hope your and your students' first day of school went well. :-)

ROFL, Gabrielle, as you know, one doesn't have to mention something in order to live it.

FMN, I'd have been most upset without the internet to introduce us all to each other before we meet again in the great Beyond. What a grace is this head-start on Joy.

forget me not

Honora, you took the words out of my mouth with your line about the song.
We were fine while we sang "when I was hungry you gave me to eat"..etc until we'd get to 'when i was naked', and all the kids would snicker as if we had been authorized to say a bad word and knew no better than to laugh nervously about it and untile we'd get a whack behind the head from Sister...But you'd hear that tune in your brain all day and all night long and the more you tried to get rid of it the worse it got!...la la la la you gave me to drink..oh shoot, now what do I do?

Honora

And THAT's a good lesson for Sistah as well: If she wants to holily occupy children's minds, she could but hum a hymn until the light dawns in their eyes. Who has ever seriously acted up while singing a hymn? I don't believe there is EVER a reason to whack ANYONE, and I have made that clear to utter strangers going past my house who must, just simply must dominate a child who dares have a bit of spirit. I do not interfere with rational parents (and/or their significant others), but with others, I will go and "shop" (pray) near the threatened child in a store, until their moment of violence passes. It doesn't change the world..only the moment..but that is what Jesus did in the town square, which was so greatly appreciated by the victim-to-be. I hope we all do that. I'll BET we all do that.

Okay, everyone, "Morning has broken, like the first morning.."

;-)

forget me not

Blackbird has spoken.... ROFL Honora! That's another one!
Sister is probably with the Lord now...Maybe my dad is right. He had a Divine Comedy-esque dream once. He said he visited purgatory, where he encountered nuns whose penance was to stand in front of a machine that repeatedly dispensed whacks to the back of the head. Another group he encountered there was doctors. Their penance was to clean bedpans.
When he went to visit heaven, it was full of nurses and people who had been whacked by nuns or who had been patients of those doctors! :-)

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