Hear my prayer, O God;*
Do not hide yourself from my petition.
Listen to me and answer me; *
I have no peace, because of my cares.
The third step of humility is that we submit to the prioress or abbot in all obedience…
Benedict's Rule, 7:18 (Chittister, Pg. 84)
Rung three [on the ladder of humility] brings us face to face with our struggle for power. It makes us face an authority outside of ourselves.This struggle of mine for power, with submission, with others that have authority over me? This is not an easy walk, I need help. I need God to hear my prayer. A few years ago I was in a week long program learning more about myself. One of the exercises was an informal instrument to evaluate how competitive I am. When it was introduced I thought it was going to be easy, that it would confirm what a relaxed, laid-back person I was. Wow, was I surprised! I came out on the "competitive" side. Not just a little bit competitive, but way down at the competitive end of "highly competitive". Then I read further, then thought about myself and how I reacted to situations in the past, and came to the understanding (for me) that being competitive often makes it harder to submit to others, to let others take the lead, to admit that I might not have the best (or only) idea for something...
Chittister, Pg. 85
I think about this as we study "humility". Some parts of humility have been easier, such as when I take stock of myself and realize I can no longer lift as many 80 pound bags of lime as I could when I was a teenager working on the farm. It's just a fact, I am not as strong as I once was. Others are harder. "Submitting" to a superior of one sort or another is, at times, not just hard, it is a real struggle. That struggle brings me face-to-face with my need to pray today's psalm...
A Note To Anyone Reading:This entry is part of a series that is developing as I read The Rule of Benedict, A Spirituality for the 21st Century, Joan Chittister, OSB, Crossroads, 2010. I am offering this both to those at St. George's Episcopal Church, Arlington VA, that may be reading this book and to anyone that is interested.
Unless stated otherwise quotes from St. Benedict's Rule are from the translation in this same book.
Psalms are from The Book of Common Prayer, The Episcopal Church, 1979 unless otherwise noted.
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