He shall live as long as the sun and moon endure, *
from one generation to another.
The seventh step of humility is that we not only admit with our tongues but are also convinced in our hearts that we are inferior to all and of less value, humbling ourselves...
Benedict's Rule 7:51 (Chittister, Pg. 91)
...in the seventh degree of humility Benedict wants us to realize that accepting our essential smallness and embracing it frees us from the need to lie, even to ourselves, about our frailties. More than that, it liberates us to respect, revere, and deal gently with others who have been unfortunate enough to have their own smallnesses come obscenely to light.As I ponder being "inferior to all" it is sandpaper rubbing on the image I have of my life. I think I cannot be small and inferior, I have been promoted, I received a raise, I have this wonderful opportunity to make an important presentation....
Chittister, Pg. 91
Then I consider the other presentations in the series, or realize how much longer it took me to get the promotion that came to others so soon. Am I better? Am I worse? Sister Joan's phrase "their own smallnesses come obscenely to light" comes into focus. I know I am small (but don't want to admit it.) I know I could all too easily be the homeless person on the street next year, or next month. I know I am just as fallible as you. (But I don't want to think about that today, I am much to busy working on really important things only I can do...)
Remembering I am lowly and worth nothing (except for what God uses me for) puts me on common footing with the rest of the world, AND reminds me I am not God.
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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