Kim Griffin

For every Christian, Jesus is the ultimate man.

He is the only man truly worthy of worship, glory and praise; the only man perfect and without the stain of sin. “There is none like you, LORD; You are great, and your name is great in might” (Jeremiah 10:6).

And he did mighty things. Turned water into wine. Fed 5,000 people with five loaves and two fish. He resurrected from the dead and redeemed mankind.

Jesus had every reason to puff out his chest and look down on humanity, disgusted with us. But there are no testimonies of such behavior. His life from beginning to end was an uninterrupted demonstration of perfect humility. His entire life he lived in obedience to the will of God.

Jesus, mighty man that he was, can seem unapproachable. Like the bride in the Song of Songs we may be aware of our unworthiness.

Advent is a time when Jesus invites us to come closer to him. How are we resisting? And why? These are good questions to ask this Advent. Are we going to confession? To Mass in person? Spending time with him throughout our day?

If we find Jesus unapproachable, we might meditate on how he entered the world as a vulnerable and dependent baby. So extreme was his humility and radical love for us to enter the world as an innocent infant!

At midnight Mass on Christmas Eve in 1937, the infant Jesus appeared to St. Faustina. She recounted in her diary later:

“When I arrived at midnight Mass, from the very beginning I steeped myself in deep recollection, during which time I saw the stable of Bethlehem filled with great radiance. The Blessed Virgin, all lost in the deepest of love, was wrapping Jesus in swaddling clothes, but Saint Joseph was still asleep. Only after the Mother of God put Jesus in the manger, did the light of God awaken Joseph, who was also praying. But after a while, I was left alone with the Infant Jesus who stretched out his little hands to me, and I understood that I was to take him in my arms. Jesus pressed his head against my heart and gave me to know, by his profound gaze, how good he found it to be next to my heart. At that moment Jesus disappeared and the bell was ringing for holy Communion.”

What a beautiful vision! Imagine infant Jesus reaching out to be held? Who can resist the charms of any beautiful baby, but infant Jesus? How can we not take hold of his little hands, hold him and let his head rest upon our hearts?

Jesus instructed believers to become like children. We can stop resisting Jesus, admit our need for him and take advantage of meeting with him this Advent. He is reaching out his arms to us. Will we respond to him? If the greatest man who ever lived can humble himself for us surely we can for him!

The Litany of Humility is a beautiful prayer that can help us prepare for Christmas. It was published first in the “Handbook of Prayers” (Studium Theologiae Foundation, Manila, 1986, and in a later edition, by Midwest Theological Forum, Chicago, US.) and attributed to Cardinal Rafael Merry del Val (1865-1930), secretary of state for the Holy See under Pope St. Pius X.

“O Jesus! meek and humble of heart, hear me.
From the desire of being esteemed,
Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being loved…
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 …
From the fear of being despised…
From the fear of suffering rebukes …
From the fear of being calumniated …
From the fear of being forgotten …
From the fear of being ridiculed …
From the fear of being wronged …
From the fear of being suspected …

That others may be loved more than I,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be esteemed more than I …
That, in the opinion of the world,
others may increase and I may decrease …
That others may be chosen and I set aside …
That others may be praised and I unnoticed …
That others may be preferred to me in everything …
That others may become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should …”

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Kim Griffin is a member of the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul Parish, Philadelphia.