January 30, May 31, September 30
Chapter 7: On Humility
The second degree of humility
is that a person love not his own will
nor take pleasure in satisfying his desires,
but model his actions on the saying of the Lord,
“I have come not to do My own will,
but the will of Him who sent Me” (John 6:38).
It is written also,
“Self-will has its punishment,
but constraint wins a crown.”
What does Benedict identify as the 2nd degree of humility? How would we accomplish this? What tools might we need? How do we learn God’s will for us? How would we avoid legalism? Over-scrupulosity?
I find myself fascinated with the last quotation. Whenever St. Benedict quotes from the Bible, he identified the book, chapter and verse, but not here. This aroused my curiosity so I turned to a couple of heavy duty commentaries on the RB: Terence Kardong’s _Benedict’s Rule: A Translation and Commentary_ and Adalebert de Vogue’s _Reading St. Benedict: Reflections on the Rule_. Although it doesn’t say so in this translation above, the Latin reads “Item dicit Scriptura” , literally “Scripture also says”. The quotation itself is not from Scripture as we know it today, but rather is from the Passion of St. Anastasia, a saint venerated in Rome. This saying became a popular proverb. Adalbert suggests that Benedict may not have known the origin of the phrase which is why he didn’t provide his usual citation.
I mention this because it brings home to me how fortunate we are in the 21st century that we can go to almost any bookstore and purchase a copy of the Bible which is what will teach us, if we allow it, to model our actions on those of our Lord and seek to do the will of the Father.