Hear our voice, O Lord, according to your faithful love.
The annunciation. John Collier.
Humility (cont.) extracted from: Joan Chittister: The monastery of the heart: an invitation to a meaningful life. Blue Bridge, 2011, ch. 21, pp. 169-186
… continued from yesterday
The sixth step of humility
counsels us to be
"content with the lowest
and most menial treatment."
In this step of humility
we forswear the best theatre tickets
the best house and clothes,
the best table at the restaurant,
and the best office in the building.
It means that we don't expect
to be served.
We don't expect to be made
We don't expect to be preferred.
It is a freeing experience,
the attainment of this step of humility.
The sixth step of humility says
that when we are satisfied
with whatever we get,
we can never be disappointed again.
The seventh step of humility
is that "we not only admit with our tongues
but are also convinced in our hearts
that we are inferior to all and of less value."
It is at this step on the ladder of humility
that we stop judging others,
that we can really begin to hear
the caring and insightful criticism of others,
because we have finally
admitted to ourselves
both our highest potential
and our greatest weaknesses.
Once we ourselves recognise
to what depths we are capable of sliding,
we stop defending ourselves
from other people's criticisms of us,
from others' questions about us,
and we stop blaming everybody else
for what we have surely done.
Gone is the defensiveness
that has cemented us
in an unwillingness to change.
We know ourselves now—
human in every dimension,
to be capable of anything
More empty now of self,
we no longer react with shock
at the iniquity of another
and begin to empathize instead
with the fissures of soul
with which they also struggle.
We are no longer shocked
or repulsed by the failings we see around us,
because we truly know
that in the same circumstances
we could have, would have,
done the same—or worse—ourselves.
We know who we are—
and who we might have been.
We are no longer so implacably certain
of our own deep-down virtue.
Humility here means
that we have come
to the point where we can
let go of self-righteousness,
"there but for the grace of God
continued tomorrow …
Who will separate us from the love of God, arr. I. Solomin. Joint Choir of the Trinity-St Sergius Lavra and the Moscow Theological Academy and Seminary, dir. Archimandrite Matthew
May God our Redeemer show us compassion and love. Amen.