Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Reading for Feb 8, June 9, Oct 9

February 8, June 9, October 9
Chapter 7: On Humility

The eleventh degree of humility
is that when a monk speaks
he do so gently and without laughter,
humbly and seriously,
in few and sensible words,
and that he be not noisy in his speech.
It is written,
"A wise man is known by the fewness of his words"(Sextus, Enchidirion, 134 or 145).

Some Thoughts:

Ah, me. Not really wanting to think about how far short of this ideal that I fall. How about you, Gentle Reader?

I've sat here staring at these words for 10 minutes now, thinking about all the times I have put my foot in it. It will not edify you for me to list a number of examples, but I am convicted in my heart of attention-getting that makes me nervously excited and then I babble followed by unintentional giving of offense.

Commentary by Sr Joan Chittister

Humility, Benedict teaches, treads tenderly upon the life around it. When we know our place in the universe, we can afford to value the place of others. We need them, in fact, to make up what is wanting in us. We stand in the face of others without having to take up all the space. We don't have to dominate conversations or consume all the time or call all the attention to ourselves. There is room, humility knows, for all of us in life. We are each an ember of the mind of God and we are each sent to illumine the other through the dark places of life to sanctuaries of truth and peace where God can be God for us because we have relieved ourselves of the ordeal of being god ourselves. We can simply unfold ourselves and become.

The Tao teaches:

"The best people are like water

They benefit all things,

And do not compete with them.

They settle in low places,

One with nature, one with Tao."

"Settling in low places," being gentle with others and soft in our comments and kind in our hearts and calm in our responses, never heckling, never smothering the other with noise or derision is an aspect of Benedictine spirituality that the world might well afford to revisit.

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