Fourth Step of Humility

The fourth step of humility is that in this obedience, under difficult, unfavorable, or even unjust conditions, his heart quietly embraces suffering and endures it without weakening or seeking escape. Rule of St. Benedict

The practice of the fourth step of humility, according to Saint Benedict, is very demanding and painful.  It is only in light of the mystery of the cross of Christ and of his supreme obedience to the Father that we can begin to apprehend the hardship entailed in this form of following the Lord.  If we think that physical suffering is difficult to endure, we shall soon find out that mental and emotional suffering is many times more painful.  Only those who have endured unjust persecution and the mental anguish that sort of suffering carries with it have experiential knowledge of how painful it is to assent to God’s will under such circumstances.
We shall not be surprised, if in a moment of weakness and fear, we try to escape from the practice of this step.  Jesus Himself prayed: “Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass me by.”  it is precisely at this moment, though, “with a quiet heart” as counseled by Saint Benedict, that we try to submit to God’s wishes as we utter the remainder of Jesus words: “Nevertheless, let it be as you, not I, would have it.”  In this submission, all natural resentment emanating from the source of this suffering begins to lessen, and a deep inner peace – a sure sign of the healing presence of God – settles in.

Brother Victor-Antoine d’Avila-Latourrette

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