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Other ways of praying

【13】Maximizing the effect of litany by sandwiching “core prayer” in between

 In the course of long history of Christian prayers, various litanies have been created.  Some litanies can be categorized as prayers that help us reach a goal that we set.  The following litany is a noble prayer of this type.
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Litany of Humility (Note 1)
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 become as holy as I should,
 Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
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 The quality of each line of this litany is worthy of admiration.  And we can achieve this level of humility only by continuing this prayer wholeheartedly for a long period time.  Each line is extremely good.
 If we say this litany in a cursory manner, we may end up with just touching the surface of it without learning from the profound content of each line of the prayer.  Let’s try the following.

 As a help, we use a powerful brief prayer that we always use.  The powerful short prayer is something that we use to pray for what we long for such as our hope to be closer to God and unite with Him.  Such prayer could be: “God, I love you,” “My God, my everything,” “Help me, Holy Spirit,” “Give me power, God,” “God, bring me closer to you,” and so on.  These groaning prayers from the deepest part of our heart can be called the “core prayers.”
With the help of this core prayer, we ask God that we can come closer to the level described in each line of the litany (and that we can elevate ourselves).  Here is how we do it.
 In one slow breath, chant the core prayer, and then repeat it one more time.  If you use “God, I love you,” then you recite it once while inhaling and exhaling, and then do it again.  Then, slowly say the first prayer of the Litany of Humility “From the desire of being esteemed, Deliver, me, Jesus.”  Then recite the core prayer twice like we did.  Then slowly say the second prayer of the litany “From the desire of being loved, Deliver me, Jesus.”
 First, you may feel that the words and meaning of the prayers intermingle in your mind.  But if you are impressed by the wonderful litany and understand it, then you will eventually get rhythm in the prayer, because it is a short core prayer that is sandwiched in between.
 In this method of praying, each line of the litany is of course the main part.  The core prayer in between is used as a support.  We try to reach the level of humility described in the litany with the help of the core prayer which is deeply rooted in our heart.  We want to try to clearly understand the content of each line of the litany, and the core prayer is placed in between to encourage ourselves to move forward.
 Three more litany-like prayers below may also be very helpful for us who live in the modern age.  You can use these prayers along with the above litany.
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(1) Today
Today I will delete from my diary two days:
yesterday and tomorrow...
Yesterday was to learn and tomorrow will be
the consequence of what I can do today.
Today I will face life with the conviction
that this day will not ever return.
Today is the last opportunity I have to live intensely,
as no one can assure me that I will see tomorrow's sunrise.
Today I will be brave enough not to let any opportunity pass me by,
my only alternative is to succeed.
Today I will invest my most valuable resource:my time,
in the most transcendental work: my life.
Today I will spend each minute passionately to make
of today a different and unique day in my life.
Today I will defy every obstacle that appears
on my way, trusting that I will succeed.
Today I will resist pessimism and will conquer the world with a smile,
with the positive attitude of expecting always the best.
Today I will make of every ordinary task
a sublime expression.
Today I will have my feet on the ground, understanding reality
and the stars' gaze to invent my future.
Today I will take the time to be happy and
will leave my footprints and my presence in the hearts of others.
Today, I invite you to begin a new season where we can dream
that everything we undertake is possible and
we fulfill it, with joy and dignity.
~Author Unknown

(2) Only for today
Only for today, I will seek to live the livelong day positively without wishing to solve the problems of my life all at once.
Only for today, I will take the greatest care of my appearance: I will be courteous in my behaviour; I will not criticize anyone; I will not claim to improve or to discipline anyone except myself.
Only for today, I will devote 10 minutes of my time to some good reading, remembering that just as food is necessary to the life of the body, so good reading is necessary to the life of the soul.
Only for today, I will do one good deed and not tell anyone about it.
Only for today, I will be happy in the certainty that I was created to be happy, not only in the other world but also in this one.
Only for today, I will make a plan for myself: I may not follow it to the letter, but I will make it. And I will be on guard against two evils: hastiness and indecision.
Only for today, I will firmly believe, despite appearances, that the good Providence of God cares for me as no one else who exists in this world.
Only for today, I will have no fears. In particular, I will not be afraid to enjoy what is beautiful and to believe in goodness.
~The daily decalogue of Pope John XXIII

(3) Get a smile
Get a smile,
To give it to those who have never smiled.
Get sunlight,
To light where the night reigns.
Find a spring,
So that those who are covered with mud can clean themselves with it.
Learn how you feel to shed tears,
To moisturize the face of people who have never shed tears.
Take courage,
To encourage those who do not know what it is to fight.
Discover life,
To share it with those who do not understand it.
Continue walking with the ray of hope,
And receive the warmth,
To give it to those who do not know it.
Find love,
So that you can bring it to this world.
~Mahatma Gandhi
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(Note 1) This litany was composed by Cardinal Rafael Merry del Val (1865 - 1930).  It is more suited for a personal prayer than for a prayer in a group.  He would recite this prayer after every mass he celebrated.  This litany is not well known in Japan, but in Europe and the U.S., it is popular among many people.

 

 

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