Holy Rule for June 5
When I asked prayers for Brian and his family, I didn't know for sure the age of his two daughters. They are only 8 and 9 and both adored him. Continued prayers for them and all the Magrath family. I was lucky to be able to see them this afternoon and told them of your prayers, for which they are most grateful.
Prayers, please, for Chaldean Catholic Father Ragheed and Subdeacons Basman, Ghasan and Wadid, pulled from their car after Sunday Mass and murdered by militants in Mosul, Iraq, also for their families and all who mourn them. Prayers, too for the murderers and all those of any faith who are tragically misled to do violence in the name of God.
Deo gratias, for T., the diabetic for whom we prayed after her parents arrest. To the great relief of all, she is beginning to take care of herself much better. Prayers for Jackie, an Oblate who has gone to God, for a happy death and eternal rest and for all the family. Prayers, too, for Carm, another Oblate,
complications from heart surgery.
Prayers, please, for Bill and for his wife, Peggy. He has been diagnosed with mesothelioma and both are deeply concerned. The stress is working havoc on Peggy's ulcers, so prayers for them both. Prayers, too, for Marianne, possible Parkinson's, but afraid to go to the doctor, and for her worried sister. Deo gratias and thanksgiving for Vic, his lymphoma is presently in remission.
Prayers for Terry, just diagnosed with bone cancer, and for Doris, who asked for her. May God fill them both with grace and peace. Deo gratias, Kevin, for whom we prayed a while back, is doing much better though on heavy meds and tiring easily. This is quite hard on his toddler son, Declan, and on his exhausted wife, Hilda, so continued prayers for all. Prayers for Gordie, very near death from Parkinson's, and for all his family, prayers for his happy death and eternal rest. 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 4, June 5, October 5
Chapter 7: On Humility
The seventh degree of humility
is that he consider himself lower and of less account
than anyone else,
and this not only in verbal protestation
but also with the most heartfelt inner conviction,
humbling himself and saying with the Prophet,
"But I am a worm and no man,
the scorn of men and the outcast of the people" (Ps. 21:7).
"After being exalted, I have been humbled
and covered with confusion" (Ps. 87:16).
"It is good for me that You have humbled me,
that I may learn Your commandments" (Ps. 118:71).
So many people get blown away arguing against the line: "I am a worm
and no man..." that they completely miss a crucially important fact.
Very ancient interpretation of this Psalm has the Suffering Servant,
Jesus, as its focus. Jesus Himself quoted its opening line from the
Cross: "My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?" There are numerous
allusions to the crucifixion in this Psalm, casting lots for
garments, piercing hands and feet and the derision of the crowd, to
name a few.
OK, so if we dare to put these wormy terms in the mouth of Christ,
how come we get upset about saying the same of ourselves? Good
question! If HE can say it, even metaphorically, we surely should
have no problem!
But many seem to have a big problem there, so let's look at the
matter from a different angle. We absolutely cannot know that others
are worse than us. It's not possible, because we cannot see into
their hearts, we cannot know every factor in their guilt or lack
thereof. We cannot know that they are not better than us.
God alone can know all those things. Even the individual involved
knows less about her complicity and culpability in a given action
than God does. That knowledge is always and everywhere partially
withheld from human consciousness. No one will ever know it all until
they die, when everything that was hidden will be made evident.
OK, one argues, so if we can't know anyone is worse, we sure can't
know if they're better, either. Quite right! Our God-given natural
assessment abilities allow us to be sure of no one's wickedness or
goodness, not even our own state of grace. But we have more facility
in self-judgement than we have in regard to others. We have more
parts of the puzzle there, even though we still don't have them all,
we have windows into our own hearts and minds that we have in no
So, with all this ironclad uncertainty, why would Scripture and the
Holy Rule ask us to think ourselves less than anyone else? For two
very important reasons. First, it is the safest position to take.
Even without full knowledge of ourselves, we have more information
there than we have anywhere else. Secondly, it is the most profitable
position for learning and spiritual growth.
If we think someone is less than ourselves, there is little chance we
will learn anything from her: we're so busy with patronizing
condescension that only now and then will the woman's REAL words come
through to us. On the other hand, if we think everyone has something
to teach us, knowledge and growth start popping up all over the
place, in some very unlikely locations! This attitude is part of
listening, really listening.
And after all, "Listen" is where our Rule begins!
Love and prayers,
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