Rule of St. Benedict: Chapter 7: On Humility, May 26, 2017

January 25, May 26, September 25

Chapter 7: On Humility

Holy Scripture, brethren, cries out to us, saying,

“Everyone who exalts himself shall be humbled,

and he who humbles himself shall be exalted” (Luke 14:11).

In saying this it shows us

that all exaltation is a kind of pride,

against which the Prophet proves himself to be on guard

when he says,

“Lord, my heart is not exalted,

nor are mine eyes lifted up;

neither have I walked in great matters,

nor in wonders above me.”

But how has he acted?

“Rather have I been of humble mind

than exalting myself;

as a weaned child on its mother’s breast,

so You solace my soul” (Ps. 130:1-2).

Hence, brethren,

if we wish to reach the very highest point of humility

and to arrive speedily at that heavenly exaltation

to which ascent is made through the humility of this present life,

we must

by our ascending actions

erect the ladder Jacob saw in his dream,

on which Angels appeared to him descending and ascending.

By that descent and ascent

we must surely understand nothing else than this,

that we descend by self-exaltation and ascend by humility.

And the ladder thus set up is our life in the would,

which the Lord raises up to heaven if our heart is humbled.

For we call our body and soul the sides of the ladder,

and into these sides our divine vocation has inserted

the different steps of humility and discipline we must climb.

Some thoughts:

Here we are again in this chapter which most convicts me of my most besetting sin: intellectual arrogance. I am not a humble person and I wonder sometimes if humility is a gift of the Holy Spirit that not everyone is give or if it is in the genes and I missed out on that genetic marker. Sometimes I laugh when I think this. Other times I cry.

All my life other people have let me no in often brutal terms how unhumble I am. They don’t use that word, but it’s what they meant. Their words have left a lasting wound that doesn;t heal because I can’t seem to learn to be humble. Just yesterday by chance I came across the photo of a former friend who severed our relationship some 20 years ago over my lack of humility. I found myself crying my eyes out as if it had just happened yesterday. I miss her so.

Recently someone said to me what a poor example of a nun I am. I had to agree and added “The wonder of it, the miracle, is that even thought I am a lousy nun, God still wants me.” This was responded to with yet another accusation of lack of humility. I guess it was taken other than as I meant it.

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