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Oct 2

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  • russophile2002
    +PAX 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
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 2, 2002

      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 contradictions
      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);
      and again
      "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).


      The awful trip here is the part about holding "fast to patience with
      a silent mind." How on earth does one begin to do that? The trend in
      consumerist Western society is pretty much to form people- no, let's
      call them what consumerism does: "consumers"- in a mold that ALWAYS
      listens to very noisy minds. That, after all, is the root of desire
      and consumption (clever play on words there!) and profit. Nothing
      else matters much to a consumerist society.

      It's not surprising that living, moving and having our being in such
      waters, we more or less acquire consumerist gills in order to
      breathe. However, the Gospel itself, as well as the Holy Rule, tells
      us that we must adopt a view which contradicts that of the secular
      world. Learning to do this is neither easy nor fast.

      The really hard thing here is that sometimes, even when we are right,
      we have to put up and shut up, so to speak. The Rule speaks of
      bearing injustice and false brethren. There are no qualifiers here
      that say: "You may think it is unjust, but the truth is otherwise."
      No, sometimes we must actually endure stuff that really is unjust,
      endure people that truly are false. As one very wise old monk of
      Pluscarden once said: "Some things will only be fixed by a cross in
      the cemetery." That is frighteningly true. Some people, some
      dysfunctions will go unchecked and there are only two things one can
      do about it: leave or endure.

      This may feel like denial to us. It isn't. That's not what's asked of
      us. I may know very clearly that a person or situation is wrong,
      really know it, but what is asked of me is to react in a particularly
      controlled fashion, "with a silent mind." Jesus did say, after all,
      the He is the Truth. He is not calling us to stupidity or denial, but
      He can well afford to call us to silent endurance. The briefest look
      at Jesus in His Passion can affirm His rights there. There was never
      a greater injustice done than that, nor was there ever a victim so
      innocent and completely undeserving of all that brutality.

      Why is the "silent mind" such a big deal? Because you cannot get
      anywhere spiritually without one. Your focus will be shattered. The
      messy bit here is that your focus can be shattered by things
      apparently worthwhile- the devil, after all is no fool. We can be
      tricked into spinning our wheels and expending all our emotional and
      spiritual energy on dead ends that look noble, or on things that
      truly are noble, but should not absorb all of our efforts or
      attention. We can distort our necessary caring and charity into anger
      and rage at injustice that does nothing other than perpetrate anger
      and rage in more religious attire. Big mistake there!

      Recently, on Oblateforum, a mini-flame war, perhaps only
      a "skirmish", has erupted over the Magisterium and women's
      ordination. Predictably, quite early on it stooped to hurling charges
      at people, not ideas. Whoops! Wrong way, folks. The holiest monks I
      know would not have even entered into that discussion. They would
      have smiled and maybe shrugged and gone to their room to read or pray.

      That's not denial, that's a fair assessment that Brother David (the
      elderly monk I have in mind,) of Saint Leo would have made correctly.
      David was a very, very holy nobody and he knew that. It was a very
      freeing knowledge, one I completely lacked when I first lived with
      him. At the ripe old age of 18, I thought entering into heated
      argument was the thing to do. David, quite rightly, knew that it
      would result in a night (or day) of strife and nothing would be
      changed. David knew that a nickel-dime lay brother in Florida was not
      going to change the Church at all by fighting with other people who
      were similarly powerless. He was humble enough to go to his room. How
      I wish I had been that smart- then or now!

      Love and prayers,

      Jerome, OSB
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