Tina Mayeux proposes the Litany of Humility as a way to counter the temptations against humility and grow in holiness in a social media-centered world.
Social media has revolutionized our society and changed the way we communicate and relate to one another. On one hand, platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter provide a medium through which we can bring the gospel message of Christ to others quickly and pervasively. This function of social media is a great blessing and one that St. Paul certainly would have availed himself of, had he lived in this tech-centered age that we find ourselves in today. Never before have we been able to deliver and receive the Word of God and the message of the love of Jesus so efficiently. In addition, we can transmit and discover all kinds of helpful information through a few keystrokes and by simply logging on to our devices. For these technological advancements we are all thankful.
However, with our immersion in technology and our newfound dependence upon it come drawbacks and temptations that we must guard against. For many of us, spending so much time on social media platforms can cause us to compare ourselves with others and may even lead to envy and jealousy. Having a glimpse into the worlds of others as we do with Facebook and Instagram, our fallen human nature may tend to lead us to wonder whether others’ lives are better, easier, or otherwise more abundant than our own. How do we prevent ourselves from falling into comparison and envy when scrolling through our social media feeds and, instead, choose to celebrate the successes and good fortune of others?
One of my very favorite prayers, and the one that I turn to when tempted to compare and contrast my life with that of my neighbor, is the Litany of Humility. The lines of this litany challenge us to hope for the success and good of others while accepting and even desiring the lowest place for ourselves. Through praying it earnestly and sincerely, we learn to let go of the need for recognition, praise, and accolades, and instead to embrace humility and being forgotten and ignored for the sake of Christ.
When we take this prayer seriously and mean what we are asking for, the Litany of Humility is a difficult prayer to pray. However, I have found that, after praying it regularly and sincerely over many years, the Lord has helped me to begin grow, little by little, in humility, although I have a long way to go. Learning to embrace and love being “despised,” “forgotten,” and “wronged,” seems like a dreadful and distasteful task.
However, as we learn from the life of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, humility brings with it a great joy and peace, blessings which can only be understood by those who possess this most sublime virtue. The saints teach us by their words and actions that, contrary to what would seem obvious, growing in humility – learning to lower ourselves and accept the lowest place – is one of the best-kept secrets of happiness.
Perhaps one reason why many in our social media-saturated world are so unhappy and void of God is because of the lack of humility present today. Although we are all tempted toward pride and self-promotion and the tendency to compete with our neighbor, especially in this day and age, we must resist this temptation and strive to acquire and practice humility if we desire peace and unity with Jesus. He came as a lowly infant in poverty and need, not as a powerful king in splendor and majesty.
If we are to imitate Him and live as He instructed us to do, we should follow His words and example in the gospels. He instructs us to “Learn from Me, for I am meek and humble of heart” (Matthew 11:29). It is through imitation of Jesus and His Mother Mary that we will attain our highest good, unity with Him here on earth and forever in Heaven.
Copyright 2022 Christina Mayeux
Images: Canva Pro