Prayers, please, for a special family in great need. Cath, the Mom,
has inoperable cancer, her middle child, with Downs Syndrome, has
leukemia. The prognosis for both is about 12 months. Her other two
children, understandably, are having terrible times coping with this.
Prayers for them all! Also for Linda and her husband, Rick. Rick was
disabled from a lung injury and now has a large tumor on his right
lung. Thanks so much! God's will be done! NRN JL
February 3, June 4, October 4
Chapter 7: On Humility
The sixth degree of humility
is that a monk be content
with the poorest and worst of everything,
and that in every occupation assigned him
he consider himself a bad and worthless workman,
saying with the Prophet,
"I am brought to nothing and I am without understanding;
I have become as a beast of burden before You,
and I am always with You" (Ps:22-23).
While it may be arguably true that many in the past had self-esteems
which were far too low, I think, from my generation onward, we
have "worked through all that" with more than enough success. Relax,
I think we have compensated for any imbalance and then some! With
ears attuned to such self-affirmation, it is hard for us to hear
lines like "worthless workman", "brought to nothing" and "a beast of
burden before You."
Understandably, we may listen through our filtered ears and wonder
how on earth the Psalmist could say such things. Mechanisms to
explain them away and denial defenses spring right up. Must have been
his primitive society, must have been some neurotic notion of
religion in those days! Boy, that David REALLY needed to work on his
self-image, so sad in a King, too!
I don't think any of those things are true in more than the most
minimal sense, if that. David COULD say those things with honesty,
because he was a mystic. Let me hasten to console all concerned with
the news that he was a very human mystic. Face it, he had the hots
for Uriah's wife and conveniently arranged Uriah's death in battle
to "legitimate" things. hardly the type of thing one would read about
the Little Flower!
Because this terribly human David, in a mystical sense, had "seen"
God, at least with the eyes of his soul, he could easily make
truthful remarks like these about himself! Once we see even a bit of
God, scales fall from our eyes and we can easily see how the Prophet
could say such things: they are true!
I am no mystic, but I sure know I am nothing, nothing at ALL compared
to God. If I have done a good job here and there, make no mistake
that I can tell you from an inside perspective that successes were
just that: here and there. The total workman profile has a LOT of
gaps and stuff undone, deliberately and otherwise. The merit review
will probably NOT recommend a raise at this time!
We need the truth of humility because we take ourselves- and the
falsehoods about ourselves- far, far too seriously. Yes, we sometimes
need to know we did "OK", but we also need to often remind ourselves
that we are not so hot as we thought!
Love and prayers,
St. Mary's Monastery