Saturday, November 19, 2016

The Eighth Degree of Humility

From Vultus Christi:
The brother who nourishes a secret belief in his own superiority will always find opportunities to stand out, to stand apart, to preserve the little difference that reinforces this belief. The brother who cannot give up his personal way of doing things fears that, if he starts doing everything as others do, he will cease being special, and this he finds terrifying. To such a brother the abbot must repeat Saint Benedict’s injunction again and again, firmly, and with patience: “Do nothing except what is authorised by the common rule of the monastery, or the example of the seniors”.

In a newly founded monastery where the common rule is not yet entirely consolidated, and where there are few seniors, these few seniors must give the example of a quiet regularity, shunning anything that smacks of the spectacular or the exotic. One cannot overestimate the importance of fostering regularity; by this, I do not mean a harsh regime that brooks no exceptions. I refer rather to the steady rhythm that can admit of the occasional exception and, without conceding to idiosyncrasies, accommodate the dispensations required by fluctuations in health, by changing circumstances, and by particular needs. (Read more.)

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