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4338Holy Rule for Oct. 4

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  • Br. Jerome Leo
    Oct 3, 2013
      +PAX
       
      Prayers for the eternal rest of Edna, and for all her family and all who mourn her.
       
      Lord, help us all
      as You know and will. God's will is best. All is mercy and grace. God is never
      absent, praise Him! Thanks so much. 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).

      REFLECTION

      OK, first warning. Some people who truly do have low self-esteem have
      to be very, very careful to remember that humility is truth, that ANY false
      and distorted self-image spells trouble. Increasing closeness to God, Who
      is Truth, must bring us to increasing truthfulness about ourselves. That can
      mean adjustments up OR down in our attitude.

      While it may be true that some people have self-esteems
      which are far too low, I think that many people, from my generation onward,
      have "worked through all that" with more than enough success. Relax,
      I think that often we have compensated for any imbalance and then some! With
      ears attuned to such 21st century 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 saintly.Let me hasten to console all concerned with
      that news that he was also very human. Face it, he had a lusty eye
      for Uriah's wife and conveniently arranged Uriah's death in battle
      to "legitimate" things. Nathan the prophet confronted David with the facts
      and the child born of his dalliance with Bathsheba died.

      Because this terribly human David, in a 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 begin to fall from our eyes and we can easily see how the Prophet
      could say such things: they are true!

      I sure know I am nothing, nothing at ALL without
      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. Not one of them would (or could!) have ever
      happened without God's grace. Nada. Zilch! 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 for good or ill- far, far too seriously. Yes, we
      sometimes need to know we really did "OK", but we also need to often
      remind ourselves that we are not so hot as we thought!

      "Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to Your Name give the glory!" Yet another of
      David's pithy assessments of self-worth. We are, of ourselves, less than carbon.
      It is only because of Christ that we carbon kids can truly become the "immortal
      diamond" of which Hopkins wrote!

      Love and prayers,
      Jerome, OSB
      http://www.stmarysmonastery.org
      Petersham, MA



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