Rule of St. Benedict: Chapter 7: On Humility, January 27, 2017

January 27, May 28, September 27

Chapter 7: On Humility

Let a man consider

that God is always looking at him from heaven,

that his actions are everywhere visible to the divine eyes

and are constantly being reported to God by the Angels.

This is what the Prophet shows us

when he represents God as ever present within our thoughts,

in the words “Searcher of minds and hearts is God” (Ps. 7:10)

and again in the words “The Lord knows the thoughts of men” (Ps. 93:11).

Again he says,

“You have read my thoughts from afar” (Ps. 138:3)

and “The thoughts of people will confess to You” (Ps. 75:11).

In order that he may be careful

about his wrongful thoughts, therefore,

let the faithful brother say constantly in his heart,

“Then shall I be spotless before Him,

if I have kept myself from my iniquity” (Ps. 17:24).

Some thoughts
Benedict makes two points clearly: First, we are capable of choosing for God in this life. We are not trapped by an essential weakness that makes God knowable but not possible. Second, we are more than the body. Choosing God means having to concentrate on nourishing the soul rather than on satisfying the flesh, not because the flesh is bad but because the flesh is not enough to make humans fully human. To give ourselves entirely to the pleasures of the body may close us to beauties known only to the soul.
Humility lies in knowing who we are and what our lives are meant to garner. The irony of humility is that, if we have it, we know we are made for greatness, we are made for God.

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