Humility. That little rascal keeps chasing me down and running me over. Why, oh why, won’t you leave me alone, humility? For weeks now, several people I spiritually admire have used that word when chatting with me. They are in good company. St. Augustine once said the three most important factors in the spiritual life are humility, humility, and (wait for it …) humility. Does it take a triple dose to break through our sinful and sorrowful built-up immunity?
Given humility has come up a lot in my circles, I figured it was “blogable” material. Also, if I write about it and continue to ponder it, maybe I’ll finally *get* what the Holy Spirit wants me to get, and it’ll stop chasing me down, if only for a day or two.
While this whole humility mess didn’t start with her, I’m going to blame this lovely lady for stoking the embers. Thanks a lot,
Earlier this summer I attended two talks given by Pursued by Truth for Patheos Catholic. She’s a former atheist who has returned to the faith and now tries to help others (that would be us) bring their loved ones back. She is the author of The Prodigal You Love: Inviting Loved Ones Back to the Church., blogger at
During Sister’s talks at Christ the King Catholic Church in Des Moines, she brought up humility and how important it is in evangelization. Four key points here:
- We must pray for humility.
- Then welcome opportunities to grow in humility. (ouch!)
- Recognize when silence is best. And,
- Respect the vast expanse of truth.
Joel and I both hear from so many people who are absolutely heartbroken that their children/siblings/friends/parents have left the Church, so I want to give a BIG plug to Sister’s book, The Prodigal You Love. Sister Theresa goes into greater detail about the importance of having a foundation of humility when praying for and desiring a loved one’s conversion. All this to say, Sister gave me a much-needed kick in the rear: we must examine our relationship with Jesus Christ first before we set about converting hearts. Mission territory is often no farther than inside the walls of our own home. How’s my relationship with Jesus? I do a lot of talking about Him, how much talking do I do with him? I’ve spent more time simply chatting with Jesus since Sister’s talks.
Several people, including Sister Theresa, have suggested I pray the Litany of Humility. It’s a sick, sick prayer, people. :) Really, take a peek at a few lines:
From the desire of being loved … Deliver me, Jesus. (rinse and repeat after each line)
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 …
You can check out the entire Litany of Humility here, but do you see what I mean about this being a sick prayer?! Tough stuff, right? Matt Maher turned the Litany into a song called Every Little Prison (Deliver Me). For what it’s worth, I find that rocking out to the prayer via Matt’s sung rendition makes it more digestible.
Not too long ago I committed to praying this litany every morning. A funny (not of the ha-ha variety) thing happened. Joel and I decided to change our Facebook name from The Practicing Catholic to Deacon Joel and Lisa. We did this primarily because the Holy Spirit continues to open more and more speaking engagements across the country for us, particularly centered around marriage and family life. When we give retreats, talks, or radio interviews, people know us as Deacon Joel and/or Lisa Schmidt, not The Practicing Catholic. So we wanted our online space to reflect that as well. I thought changing the name of our page was a rather neutral thing to do. What I didn’t realize was that when a Facebook page changes its name, the Facebook Gods send out a message to all of that page’s followers. So all of our 3,300+ followers received a note, and it was at that moment when several people decided they didn’t like “Deacon Joel and Lisa” and immediately “unliked” our page. What did Sister say about welcoming opportunities to grow in humility? Yeah, not fun. I was so hesitant to open up Facebook for some time because each time I did, it seemed like another dozen or so people had decided to fly the coop. Actually, one month later, and we’re still losing followers and our engagements rates are on the decline.
From the desire of being liked on Facebook … Deliver me, Lord!
Remember what I said about humility chasing me down and running me over. Oh wait, there’s more!
Lino Rulli, from The Catholic Guy Show on Sirius/XM recently made a two-day pit stop in Des Moines and once again invited me to co-host his show with him (yay!). Lino and I actually talked about the Litany of Humility on air, and it made his best-of podcast (yay again!). You can listen to that part of my appearance on his show via iTunes here or directly from his website here.
Funny thing (again, not the ha-ha kind). Because of a technical hiccup, our humble little website here was out of commission during Lino’s show. If listeners tried stopping by our digital home after Lino mentioned, “My co-host today is Lisa Schmidt from ThePracticingCatholic.com,” they came up empty-handed. It’s like I didn’t exist, at least digitally. I think back to last summer when Joel and I were both on air with Lino, and we saw a HUGE spike in traffic here. Huge. Nope, not this time.
From the desire of receiving blog visitors … Deliver me, Lord!
I guess my biggest takeaways, at this point anyway, are that healthy humility consists of a readiness to let go of our accomplishments, of having a self, but being ready to give it away. As Sister Theresa reminds me, the journey of faith is a process in which one’s perspective in life increasingly shifts away from self and toward God.
I think it’s time to be silent now. But before I do, Mr. Maher must set the tone.