Humility’s Final Goal

Now, therefore, after ascending all these steps of humility, the monk will quickly arrive at that perfect love of God which casts out fear.  Through this love, all that he once performed with dread, he will now begin to observe without effort, as though naturally, from habit, no longer out of fear of hell, but out of love for Christ, good habit and delight in virtue. Rule of St. Benedict

Our Lenten journey through the different steps of humility at first seems repugnant and contrary to human nature.  And, indeed, it is.  But the value Benedict sees in the process is that these harsh and difficult steps are like strong medicine that we must take in order to get well.  Saint Benedict knows that we are alienated from God by our pride, egocentrism, and lust for power.  To remedy this fundamental depravity on our part, those hindrances to our relationship with God and with others, he suggests that we undertake the path of humility, the way proposed by the Lord Himself.

If the road to humility may seem at times nothing but struggle and futility, Saint Benedict readily comes to our rescue by reminding us of its ultimate goal.  If we endure the struggle, and gradually let go of our pride, arrogance, self-importance, and judgement of others, it is so that we may “more quickly arrive at that perfect love of God.”

The early monastic fathers and mothers claimed that the only purpose of their monastic life was to cling to that most excellent way which is love.  Saint Benedict, a true inheritor of that tradition, passed on the same teaching to his disciples.  He reminds each of us that to walk in the footsteps of Christ, whose love we must prefer above all things, we must learn to walk in the way of love and to learn love as Jesus did.  To do the work of love is our sole occupation.  The work of love is real, imperative, and it must absorb our entire lives.

Brother Victor-Antoine d’Avila-Latourrette
Blessings of the Daily, A Monastic Book of Days

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