Thursday, 6 March 2008

A Litany for humility

I was sorting out a multitude of books tonight in my Attic/study( so I can now see all my old ones which are behind the newer ones)and I came across an old gem by George Verwer. The first time I read it( now over twenty years ago)I was just coming out a very destructive and spiritually abusive group involved with the 'Discipleship' or 'Shepherding' Movement.Biblical Discipleship and Shepherding are certainly an important part of Christian and Church life but this Movement totally turned what it should have been to that of worship towards the leaders and using that position to control and manipulate the members.Many still suffer from the effects of it and now sadly have walked away from Christ (see Ezek 34). Reading this Roman Catholic Litany introduced by George in his book 'Come live Die' (Now 'Hunger for reality')reminded me again what true discipleship and devotion should be towards Christ and none other.May it be a challenge to your own heart. For those who are reading this and have suffered at the hands of abusive spiritual leaders, there is a way back through Christ who binds up the broken hearted. For those who are in such a group at the moment, you are free to leave in the name of Christ and encouraged to stay free and to never enter again that yoke of bondage. AK

O Jesus, meek and humble of heart, Hear me.
Deliver me Jesus,
from the desire of being esteemed,
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 forgotten,
from the fear of being wronged,
from the fear of being suspected,
and Jesus grant me the grace to desire
that others may be loved more than I,
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 go 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.


Kenny said...

That's a powerful prayer.

Andrew Kenny said...

Thanks for your comments Kenny. When I first read it, it exposed in my soul so much sham and self seeking rather than a genuine spirit of Christ.

John Fitz said...

Is it not in knowing and experiencing the reality that God has esteemed us, and loved us, and honoured us, and chosen us, and called us, and approved us, and forgiven us, and remebered us etc. Is it not this heart knowledge of God's amazing grace towards us that breaks the chains of selfishness within and begins to enables us to live a life that put's God and others first.

We can be free from the desire of being esteemed by others, because we know we are esteemed by God. We can be free from the desire of being loved by people, because we know we are loved by God. We can be free from wanting to be honoured by others, because we know we have been honered by God. We can cope with being rejected and forgotten by others because we know we've been chosen and remembered by God etc.

So perhaps it's not the desire to be esteemed, loved, honoured, chosen, approved and remembered etc that is wrong. It's who we desire to be esteemed, loved, honered, chosen, approved and remembered by that is either right or wrong. It's were that desire is placed.

Is this not the foundation of the humility we read off in the lives of those who God used in scripture?

Just my instant reflections on the prayer...

Andrew Kenny said...

Thanks John for your comments.Read it again because I had to amend a few errors on it.Sorry.
What you say is right and I think the writer is in humility acknowleging his own weakness to desire be honoured,consulted or praised by others,and often a subtle temptation of Satan.It could easily become an addiction which many have given in to.John Wesley warned his preachers to treat the praise of men as a deadly poison.Even the most spiritual of men required from the Lord a thorn in the flesh to keep him humble.
But as you say we must desire to hear the Master's'well done' on the Last Day. This alone should be sufficient but nevertheless we need to pray each day ' lead us not into temptation ,but deliver us from evil'.

John Fitz said...

Yea I thought it was a very searching prayer to read in the sense that it made me think about what I desire.

But then I thought I couln't possibly desire not to be esteemed and loved etc by others if I didn't know and experience, and desire the love and approval of God through Jesus, more.

Not that I always do of course... there is still the battle between the good and bad desires - the old and the new. But the more I know Jesus - by his grace - the desire for his approval grows, thus setting me free from the desire for lesser approval etc.

Though as I type I know I still have a long way to go...