Prayers, please, for: Sheyanne and L.J. Wasilowski, he is leaving for
Kuwait; for the repose of the soul of Ann McClean; for the health of
Dom Andrew; for Jessica Schamber's safe delivery of her baby; for a
falsely accused priest; and for Shauntelle. Thanks so much! NRN JL
January 31, June 1, October 1
Chapter 7: On Humility
The third degree of humility is that a person
for love of God
submit himself to his Superior in all obedience,
imitating the Lord, of whom the Apostle says,
"He became obedient even unto death."
Make no mistake, the crowning work of Jesus' Incarnation, indeed of
all cosmic history, was His Passion, Death and Resurrection. The
greatness of His final victory, however, was not solely that humanity
was saved. Inextricably linked to that wonder was the wonder of His
perfect obedience to the Father, "even unto death on a Cross." Here
we see that perfect sacrifice and perfect obedience are so closely
linked as to be all but indistinguishable from each other.
So it should be with us! Our obedience is likely to demand far less
of us than literal crucifixion. Even if it did ask that, our sins
would make the whole picture a LOT different from the crucifixion
that Jesus underwent in total innocence. It often helps to put the
shoe of our lunacy on the foot of Christ. Can you even imagine a
wimpy, whiny Jesus on the cross complaining that: "Man, obeying Him
has REALLY messed Me up! This is killing Me!"?
For Benedictines, obedience is THE quintessential root of our
sacrifice and of our humility. Everything else is subsumed under
obedience. Face it, we don't even formally take vows of poverty or
chastity- they are covered by the vow of obedience, as well as the
vow of conversion of manners, by which we promise to live
monastically. We are whatever we are to the extent that our own wills
have been placed on the altar of obedience. We rise or fall
monastically on obedience.
Monastically speaking, humility is impossible without obedience. If
humility truthfully teaches us to distrust our own wills, to question
our own inclinations, what would be left for us to follow in that
condition if there were no obedience. Sorry, we cannot have one
without the other. They are mutually essential to monastic life.
Neither would be worth much alone, if anything!
Love and prayers,
St. Mary's Monastery Petersham, MA