Continuing prayers for Linda, wiped out and with no immune system
after chemo for leukemia. Thanks so much! NRN
February 1, June 2, October 2
Chapter 7: On Humility
The fourth degree of humility
is that he hold fast to patience with a silent mind
when in this obedience he meets with difficulties
and even any kind of injustice,
enduring all without growing weary or running away.
For the Scripture says,
"The one who perseveres to the end,
is the one who shall be saved" (Matt. 10:22);
"Let your heart take courage, and wait for the Lord" (Ps. 26:14)!
And to show how those who are faithful
ought to endure all things, however contrary, for the Lord,
the Scripture says in the person of the suffering,
"For Your sake we are put to death all the day long;
we are considered as sheep marked for slaughter" (Ps. 43:22; Rom.
Then, secure in their hope of a divine recompense,
they go on with joy to declare,
"But in all these trials we conquer,
through Him who has granted us His love" (Rom. 8:37).
Again, in another place the Scripture says,
"You have tested us, O God;
You have tried us a silver is tried, by fire;
You have brought us into a snare;
You have laid afflictions on our back" (Matt. 5:39-41).
And to show that we ought to be under a Superior,
it goes on to say,
"You have set men over our heads" (Ps. 65:12).
Moreover, by their patience
those faithful ones fulfill the Lord's command
in adversities and injuries:
when struck on one cheek, they offer the other;
when deprived of their tunic, they surrender also their cloak;
when forced to go a mile, they go two;
with the Apostle Paul they bear with false brethren (2 Cor. 11:26)
and bless those who curse them (1 Cor. 4:12).
Anyone who is beginning to get a bit befuddled by all these
connections to humility is more than entitled to be so! Wait a
minute, humility equals obedience and obedience must be completely
linked to love and faith and it ALL has to be done with patience???
Phew! What an order! There's more to this than meets the eye!
It can get one rather out of breath if one looks at this too closely,
as merely an exposition on humility. It is that, but it is more than
that, too. Obedient, meek, humble, loving, patient, long-suffering.
Sound familiar? Beloveds, the Holy Rule is painting an icon of
Christ, Whose image we bear, but Whose likeness we have lost. That is
the image we are to paint with our lives, to etch in our hearts. That
is the sculpture which we, Pygmalioneque, must bring to life in
hearts of flesh, not granite. That image of Christ is what the whole
megillah is about!
White gesso must cover board, then be completely covered itself to
write an icon. Lots of really brutal chiseling precedes the delicate
softness of a marble Pieta. Obedience, humility, faith, love,
patience, sacrifice. We are talking very real deaths here. Granted,
their goal is life to the fullest, but deaths nonetheless!
We dare not diminish any of these qualities to the point of being no
big deal, of causing us little trouble. That defeats their whole
purpose, that inoculates their ability to transform radically, quite
literally at the root!
Love and prayers,
St. Mary's Monastery Petersham, MA