Rule of St. Benedict, Chapter 7: On Humility, October 10, 2016

February 9, June 10, October 10

Chapter 7: On Humility

The twelfth degree of humility
is that a monk not only have humility in his heart
but also by his very appearance make it always manifest
to those who see him.
That is to say that whether he is at the Work of God,
in the oratory, in the monastery, in the garden, on the road,
in the fields or anywhere else,
and whether sitting, walking or standing,
he should always have his head bowed
and his eyes toward the ground.
Feeling the guilt of his sins at every moment,
he should consider himself already present at the dread Judgment
and constantly say in his heart
what the publican in the Gospel said
with his eyes fixed on the earth:
“Lord, I am a sinner and not worthy to lift up my eyes to heaven”
(Luke 18:13; Matt. 8:8);
and again with the Prophet:
“I am bowed down and humbled everywhere” (Ps. 37:7,9; 118:107).

Having climbed all these steps of humility, therefore,
the monk will presently come to that perfect love of God
which casts out fear.
And all those precepts
which formerly he had not observed without fear,
he will now begin to keep by reason of that love,
without any effort,
as though naturally and by habit.
No longer will his motive be the fear of hell,
but rather the love of Christ,
good habit
and delight in the virtues
which the Lord will deign to show forth by the Holy Spirit
in His servant now cleansed from vice and sin.

 

Some thoughts:
 
I have to say that the first section of today’s reading is hard for me. It’s a doozy. The Lord has been graciously disposed to heap blessings on me the last few years that is very hard to remember what a sinner I am because I am so caught up in gratitude. Oh sure, I do screw up and I certainly feel rotten about it, but somehow I have learned to admit my fault, apologize, ask forgiveness and move on. I can no longer sit there and dwell, brood on how horrible person I am. The Lord has just been so good to me that it would feel like slapping His face. Perhaps I am being disobedient to the Rule, but this is where I am.
 
As for the second section…I pray for us all that we will be motivated by the love of Christ, good habits and delight in virtues
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