February 3, June 4, October 4
Chapter 7: On Humility
The sixth degree of humility
is that a monk be content
with the poorest and worst of everything,
and that in every occupation assigned him
he consider himself a bad and worthless workman,
saying with the Prophet,
“I am brought to nothing and I am without understanding;
I have become as a beast of burden before You,
and I am always with You” (Ps:22-23).
Well, this is certainly gloomy. What is the good Saint saying? I think he is telling us to be content with what is. The monastery will do its best to provide for basic needs but if that is all it is able to do, then the monks have to accept that.
This business about thinking the worst of ourselves flies in the face of everything we have been taught about self-esteem. I have made the comment before about the RB. Perhaps we have gone too far in learning to esteem ourselves that we have become selfish and entitled.
Let us remember that Benedict said that the first degree of humility is the fear of God. Within the context of worshipping God with awe and reverence, we really are nothing compared to God. We are on this earth to serve God. We are on this earth to cling to God.