A blessed feast of St. Therese the Little Flower to all!
Prayers, please for Gray, 9 mos. old with a stage IV malignant tumor
on his liver. Chemo has already permanently impaired his hearing and
he is to undergo surgery today for the removal of the tumor. Prayers
for him and especially his parents and grandparents whose hearts are
so anxious for him. God's will is best. All is mercy and grace.
Thanks so much. 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."
Looks a little repetitious here, doesn't it? Almost like St. Benedict
was scraping the bottom of the barrel to find something to use for a
third step, so he'd still wind up with twelve. Not so.
This short passage tempts one to a short reading and that casual
perusal will miss the terribly important things here. These are the
important elements that frame and sustain our obedience: it is done
for love of God, it is submission to another and it is lifelong.
Remove any one of those mainstays and you no longer have a
Like the Little Way of St. Therese, this looks deceptively simple.
Humility and hiddeness can be readily mistaken for easily discounted
wastes of time. In the world's eyes, they surely are, but in God's
eyes, no way! It is the LOVE with which tiny, seemingly
inconsequential things are done with great faith and faithfulness
that makes such minutuae of infinite value when linked to Christ.
St. Therese died at 24, quite firmly hidden in a strictly cloistered
monastery of Carmelites that was hardly the crossroads of France.
Today, however, the love with which she pursued little things and
humility, has seen her elevated to sainthood and even more recently
named a Doctor of the Church, only the third woman so honored. It is
love and love alone which makes the most hidden of lives a bountiful
harvest for the whole Church, for the whole Mystical Body of Christ.
As the Gospel reminds us: "Nothing is hidden that will not be made
It is nothing to persevere to the end without love. Nothing. It is
nothing to obey without love, Eichmann did that quite admirably. Nor
does it avail us anything at al to be obedient to ourselves: big
challenge there! We'd wind up Sarabaites for sure, worshipping
nothing but the idol of our own wills.
This third degree gives the reason for Benedictine obedience: "for
the love of God." We enact that love of God by trusting in those He
has placed over us, by seeing Him in them, even when that is
difficult. We do not obey for so little as orderly community,
our obedience is not mere sociology, it is love. More even than just
love, it is love of the One Who is Love at its highest perfection.
Like Christ, for love, we become "obedient even unto death." During
the Spanish Civil War, in the 30's, Communist forces raided the
Benedictine monastery of El Pueyo, taking its 18 monks prisoner. One
of the very significant things about this group is that many were
just average monks, nothing special. All of them were martyred and
one witness said that they went to their death "joyfully, as if going
to a fiesta."
Benedictine obedience of love, even unto death is decidedly not the
kind that would please earthly tyrants. In fact, they'd gladly kill
us for it. There is quite a likeness to our crucified Lord if we
embrace that peril fully. And recovering our lost likeness to Him is
what the whole of monastic struggle is about.
Love and prayers,