Tuesday, March 17, 2020


with Humility...the Only Way to Live


The Fourth Key of Humility in the Rule of St. Benedict, "perseverance", focuses on self-development.  We are reminded that we can't rush life even though that is our modus operandi. When difficult things are expected of us, Benedict says, "Endure and do not grow weary."  Too easily we back away from difficult tasks for fear of failure or because we resist committing our time, energy and effort to achieve a distant goal. For example, we want to be fit without working out or changing our lifestyle.  We want to be a star or expert at a sport or within a field with minimal practice or study.  Instant gratification is our mantra and if you don't believe it, check your attitude when your computer begins buffering and buffering that Netflix movie you've been waiting to see!

It can also be quite trying when expectations are placed on us from an external authority.  Face it, we are all subject to some oversight; no one came claim to be an "autonomous boss" in any area of their life. We are always accountable to someone!  Try writing a book.  It may well be your story, characters, and unique style of writing but ultimately, editors, publishers, and readers will weigh in on "your" book and adjustments will need to be made.  We may enjoy more independence in some aspects of our lives but we also live in communities both great and small that make demands on us.  Again, Benedict's words, "Endure and do not grow weary." prove insightful.

Undoubtedly, there will be occasions when the powers that be dictate a course of action or direction for our lives that feel incongruous with our passions, hopes and dreams.  Begrudgingly we may rail against what we surmise is unfair or even punitive, with a result that we do or accomplish far less than we are capable of achieving.  We complain, grumble, thwart progress and often take every opportunity that avails itself to voice our opinion to whomever will listen.  To what end?

Benedict's Rule regarding "Perseverance" invites us to recognize that we are all a part of something much larger than ourselves.  Occasionally, or for periods of time, a preferred life goal may be delayed or necessarily redirected.  Those who are humbly obedient will often find in retrospect that what was earlier deemed a detour, essential to personal development and a deeper awareness of best use of their gifts.  Appreciating that our service to God isn't about our own romanticized or idealized notions of holy success, reminds us that the whole journey of faith shapes us according to God's will.  

Humility gifts us with the necessary patience to persevere, even and especially when life throws us a curve.  If in the midst of whatever circumstance we find ourselves, we look to see what it is we can learn, experience, and appreciate - we just might glimpse our desired goal newly! 

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