February 4, June 5, October 5
Chapter 7: On Humility
The seventh degree of humility
is that he consider himself lower and of less account
than anyone else,
and this not only in verbal protestation
but also with the most heartfelt inner conviction,
humbling himself and saying with the Prophet,
“But I am a worm and no man,
the scorn of men and the outcast of the people” (Ps. 21:7).
“After being exalted, I have been humbled
and covered with confusion” (Pa. 87:16).
“It is good for me that You have humbled me,
that I may learn Your commandments” (Ps. 118:71).
What I’ve mainly been thinking about is how I have been coasting on these comments. I used the internet and find profound somethings and offer them to you in place of what I’ve promised: my own engagement with the RB.
Of course, none of us offers to each other from our own engagement with the Rule. I wonder if the reason for that is the sentiments expressed in the first bit of today’s reading. It is very good if we have internalized what Benedict has written here.
I wonder, though, can we take this too far? By not speaking up might we fail to speak what the Holy Spirit might lead us to? If we believe the RB is the path She has called us to, then surely we need to engage with the Rule?
When I was in first grade, Sister Padua told our class that if one of us had a question or something to contribute, then we could be
positive that someone one else in the class did too. I figured she should know because she was a nun. Of course, now that I am one myself, I question if we nuns deserve the authority we are sometimes imbued with but I digress.
Toward the end of the Rule, we come to that famous passage where St. Benedict tells us that every day we start over. I’ve said this before, I’ll say many times again. I take enormous comfort from this idea that every day we start over. I cannot tell you what enormous comfort. For one thing, it supports the idea what we are all beginners to the Benedictine way, no matter how long by God’s grace we’ve followed it.
The Little Flower wrote of her version of the ladder to Heaven which i find ever so much more appealing than St John Climicus’ version. She writes that the goal of the spiritual life is not how far up the ladder we get, but that every day we strive to get our foot on the first rung.
In true humility, surely we admit we are faulty, sinning in thought, word and deed. let us encourage one another.
What ideas have come to you in reading Ch 7 on Humility? Maybe someone among us will have never thought it before? Maybe you will say something we have been striving to hear but you say it in just the way one of us might grasp.