Eighth Step of Humility

The eighth step of humility is that a monk does only what is endorsed by the common rules of the monastery and the example set by his superiors. Rule of St. Benedict

The eighth degree of humility has very subtle individual and communal implications.  The temptation to think that we, either as individuals or as a community, are better than others is a very real one.  How many communities succumb to the temptations that they are the only true faithful heirs to the ideals of their founders, and others are not?  Others refuse to accept the liturgical reform approved by the Vatican Council, implying they know better than the Holy Spirit.  I have sometimes heard monks in France state “We are true pillars of the Church.”  In repeating this to a very holy monk who has since died, remarkable for his wisdom as for his humility, he replied, “Son, when we monks start thinking like that, the best thing for us is to die and disappear.  We are of no use to the Lord.  The glory we should ascribe to Him alone, we ascribe to ourselves.”

Pride and self-love are such strong powers in all of us that Saint Francis of Sales indicates they die in us only fifteen minutes after our own death.  When Saint Benedict admonishes us to find our place within the common rule of the monastery or the society we live in, so as not to be distinguished from others, he is simply trying to remind us of the constant danger and temptation to pride, where we seek to be exalted above others.  At a given time, when we are persecuted and real humiliations descend on us, we must see them as grace, as real signs of how much God cares for us.  As Jesus mentions in the Gospels, some of his teachings are hard to accept, but at the end there is no choice.  Either we choose the path of self-glorification that no future, or we choose the path of God that leads to true life.
Brother Victor-Antonie d’Avila-Latourrette
Blessings of the Daily, A Monastic Book of Days


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