Blogging toward humility

Media
by Marvin Olasky

Posted on Saturday, September 20, 2014, at 6:45 pm

Folks still speak of “the blogosphere,” but it no longer is one sphere (if it ever was). Many readers have feeds of their favorite blogs, and that’s true of the religious realms as well. The 1994 document “Evangelicals and Catholics Together” is now 20 years old, but in blogging, evangelicals and Catholics tend to be far apart.

And so, as a public service, I hereby introduce evangelicals to the best-written Catholic blog I’ve seen: The Anchoress. It comes from the mind and heart of Elizabeth Scalia (not one of the justice’s nine children), and it’s not only counter-conventional regarding the world at large but sometimes regarding Roman Catholicism as well. One of her articles asked, “Is the world making an idol of Pope Francis?”

This week she posted a piece on “The great unraveling,” a poetically pessimistic New York Times column by Roger Cohen about the direction of the world: “It was a time of beheadings. … It was a time of aggression. … It was a time of breakup. … It was a time of weakness.” Scalia opines, rightly, “We cannot keep operating as obedient automatons who need only the right buttons pressed to do the social and political bidding of living, breathing appetites of ambition.”

But it’s her conclusion that got to me. She quotes a “litany for humility” created by he late Rafael Cardinal Merry de Val. It got to me because I used to have the desires he named, and I’m still not immune:

From the desire of being esteemed, deliver me, O Jesus.
From the desire of being loved,
deliver me, O Jesus.
From the desire of being extolled,
deliver me, O Jesus.
From the desire of being honored,
deliver me, O Jesus.
From the desire of being praised,
deliver me, O Jesus.
From the desire of being preferred to others,
deliver me, O Jesus.
From the desire of being consulted,
deliver me, O Jesus.
From the desire of being approved,
deliver me, O Jesus.

We also need deliverance from fear:

From the fear of being humiliated, deliver me, O Jesus.
From the fear of being despised,
deliver me, O Jesus.
From the fear of suffering rebukes,
deliver me, O Jesus.
From the fear of being calumniated,
deliver me, O Jesus.
From the fear of being forgotten,
deliver me, O Jesus.
From the fear of being ridiculed,
deliver me, O Jesus.
From the fear of being wronged,
deliver me, O Jesus.
From the fear of being suspected,
deliver me, O Jesus.

All of that is worth particular contemplation on the Sabbath tomorrow. And if God graciously delivers us from those desires and fears, can we truly ask for more? Can we not only pray for our neighbors as for ourselves, but that we’ll rejoice when they surpass us? This is hard for me and maybe for you:

That others may be loved more than I, O Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be esteemed more than I,
O Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That, in the opinion of the world, others may increase and I may decrease,
O Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be chosen and I set aside,
O Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be praised and I unnoticed,
O Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be preferred to me in everything,
O Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

Amen.

Marvin Olasky

Marvin is editor in chief of WORLD and the author of more than 20 books, including The Tragedy of American Compassion. His latest book is Reforming Journalism. Follow Marvin on Twitter @MarvinOlasky.

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