Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Reading for February 2, June 3, October 3

February 2, June 3, October 3
Chapter 7: On Humility

The fifth degree of humility
is that he hide from his Abbot none of the evil thoughts
that enter his heart
or the sins committed in secret,
but that he humbly confess them.
The Scripture urges us to this when it says,
"Reveal your way to the Lord and hope in Him" (Ps. 36:5)
and again,
"Confess to the Lord, for He is good,
for His mercy endures forever" (Ps. 105:1).
And the Prophet likewise says,
"My offense I have made known to You,
and my iniquities I have not covered up.
I said: 'I will declare against myself my iniquities to the Lord;'
and 'You forgave the wickedness of my heart'" (Ps. 31:5).

Some thoughts:

Whom do you have in your life with whom you can be as honest as in this passage? Do you even want to be this honest? There's a question of trust, isn't there?

Commentary by Sr Joan Chittister

The fifth rung of the ladder of humility is an unadorned and disarming one: Self-revelation, Benedict says, is necessary to growth. Going through the motions of religion is simply not sufficient. No, the Benedictine heart, the spiritual heart, is a heart that has exposed itself and all its weaknesses and all of its pain and all of its struggles to the one who has the insight, the discernment, the care to call us out of our worst selves to the heights to which we aspire.

The struggles we hide, psychologists tell us, are the struggles that consume us. Benedict's instruction, centuries before an entire body of research arose to confirm it, is that we must cease to wear our masks, stop pretending to be perfect and accept the graces of growth that can come to us from the wise and gentle hearts of people of quality around us.

Humility such as this gives us energy to face the world. Once we ourselves admit what we are, what other criticism can possibly demean us or undo us or diminish us? Once we know who we are, all the delusions of grandeur, all the righteousness that's in us dies and we come to peace with the world.

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