11 June 2014

Our Lady of Humility

As the Universal Church celebrates the memorial of Saint Barnabas today, those of us who live at the Casa Santa Maria celebrate instead the feast of Our Lady of Humility, patroness of the chapel of our house.

The Chapel of Our Lady of Humility has five altars. Above the high altar is displayed a lovely image of our patroness:


Here is the image up close:


Those who visit the chapel today may, under the usual conditions, receive a plenary indulgence.

The humility of Our Lady permeates every aspect of her life and especially her great song of praise to God that she began, saying, "My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden" (Luke 1:46-48). In these words we hear an echo her great fiat: "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word" (Luke 1:38).

In the Book of Sirach, we are told, "For great is the might of the Lord; he is glorified by the humble" (Sirach 3:20). Connecting these verses together, Saint Bonaventure said of Mary, "Whence the Virgin Mary, because she humbled herself beyond all others, magnified the Lord beyond others. And therefore she began by magnifying the Lord, because this was befitting for the humility of the Virgin singing" (Commentary on the Gospel of Luke, 1.87).

In all things, Mary lived the wisdom of Saint John the Baptist: "He must increase, but I must decrease" (John 3:30). Today, let us ask Our Lady of Humility to teach us this same wisdom and to show us how to live it each day.

We might do well to make use of the Litany of Humility composed by His Eminence Rafael Cardinal Merry del Val:
O Jesus! meek and humble of heart, Hear me.
From the desire of being esteemed, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being loved, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being extolled, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being honored, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being praised, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being preferred to others, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being consulted, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being approved, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being humiliated, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being despised, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of suffering rebukes, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being calumniated, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being forgotten, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being ridiculed, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being wronged, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being suspected, Deliver me, Jesus.
That others may be loved more than I, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be esteemed more than I, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That, in the opinion of the world, others may increase and I may decrease, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be chosen and I set aside, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be praised and I unnoticed, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be preferred to me in everything, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

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