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Living the Message of Divine Mercy

The Role of Suffering, Humility, and Spiritual Poverty in Our Lives - by Dr. Bryan Thatcher

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'He Can Fly!'

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When did man first learn how to fly?

If you answer 1903, you're only part right. There are more ways to fly in heaven and earth than are admitted in modern science. One of those ways? Holiness.

Modern investigators of miraculous history have solemnly admitted that a characteristic of the great saints is their power of "levitation." They might go further; a characteristic of the great saints is their power of levity. Angels can fly because they can take themselves lightly. — G. K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy, The Eternal Revolution.

One of the most famous of the levitating saints of the Church is St. Joseph of Cupertino, sometimes called the "Flying Friar." Appropriately enough, he's the patron saint of aviators and flying — only he didn't need wings. As Chesterton points out, all he needed was humility.

Pride is the downward drag of all things into an easy solemnity ... It is really a natural trend or lapse into taking one's self gravely, because it is the easiest thing to do. It is much easier to write a good ... article than a good joke ... For solemnity flows out of men naturally; but laughter is a leap. It is easy to be heavy: hard to be light. Satan fell by the force of gravity. — G. K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy, The Eternal Revolution.

All St. Joseph of Cuptertino needed was humility — but humility can be very hard to come by. Humility means acknowledging that
• I am a creature, and God is my Creator;
• I am a sinner, and God is my savior;
• Mary is the greatest of all created beings, and I shall never be the greatest;
• I am under the legitimate authority of many people, both those with spiritual authority and those with earthly authority;
• I have many responsibilities as well as rights, simply by being born into a given family and a given culture at a given place and time;
• I am not the one who decides what is good and what is evil, but must conform my conscience to God's standards;
• I am called to love my neighbor, my enemy, my human brethren, and put up with them in all their fallenness, for they must also put up with me;
• I have no right to enter heaven, but rather, must trust in Jesus, the Divine Mercy.
The litany can go on, for without God, we are nothing. We must balance in our minds the knowledge of our own sin and nothingness, alongside the knowledge of the absolute love of God, His forgiveness, and our infinite worth in His eyes. To lose sight of either truth is to risk presumption or despair.

So let us ask for the prayers of St. Joseph of Cupertino, a master of humility, so that we may also be humble enough to fly home to heaven. Let us ask his intercession to protect us from pride, the greatest of sins, and for all the needs of ourselves, as well as those of our families, friends, and enemies.

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...


— Litany of Humility, Rafael Cardinal Merry del Val (1865-1930), Secretary of State for Pope Saint Pius X

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