Hear our voice, O Lord, according to your faithful love.
Humility, extracted from: Joan Chittister. The monastery of the heart: an invitation to a meaningful life. Blue Bridge, 2011, ch. 21, pp. 169-186
In Benedictine spirituality,
there is a twelve-runged ladder
that leads to God.
This ladder that reaches
between us and God
is called "the steps of humility."
The interesting thing about humility
is that in the Rule—
a document on spiritual development—
its cornerstone principle requires
the acceptance of our earthiness,
the embrace of our humanity
as the very stuff of our holiness.
Our humanity, the Rule implies,
is the clay upon which
the Divine Potter
and the heat of life's kiln
work to shape and glaze
our pliant selves
into vessels of the God-life within.
is the antidote to the myth
that eats away at the heart
of the spiritual life,
drowning it in depression,
sinking it in despair,
leading us to abandon
the very thought of a truly
given the human propensity
to become enmeshed in the very failures
It is, as well, an antidote
to an achievement-driven, image-ridden,
that is the hallmark of the modern age.
And yet, it is precisely who we are—
with all our moral weaknesses,
all our spiritual fatigue—
that is the stuff of our eventual glory.
The willingness to struggle
with our weaknesses is, in fact,
the very proof of the sincerity
of our commitment
to live in a Monastery of the Heart.
It is here, in a community of seekers,
sustained by their support
and guided by their wisdom,
that we strive ever more and more
to become the fullness of ourselves
fulfilled in the heart of God.
If this support and guidance
are the very evidence of God's goodness to us,
our ascent up the ladder of humility
is the measure of our response,
because it is here
that we become
Benedict's ladder of humility begins, oddly,
in surrender to an awareness of
the presence of the God we seek
as already within us,
and ends in personal serenity.
It links, without apology, both the spiritual
and the material dimensions of life
and makes them one.
It shows us just how tightly woven
our spiritual life—
and the way we live it—
are meant to be
The function of the spiritual life
is not to reject our humanity
but to acknowledge our neediness
and bring it to fullness.
The steps on the ladder of humility
are clear ones:
The first step of humility
is that we "keep 'the reverence of God
always before our eyes'
and never forget it."
To realize the presence of God—
whatever our own moral state—
makes the spiritual life
a companionship with God,
not God a trophy to be won
by perfect adherents
to all the rules of life—
of which we are obviously perfectly incapable.
continued tomorrow …
Don Cossacks, S. Jaroff
Bulgarian orthodox: "The noble Joseph,
taking down your most pure body from the tree,
wrapped it in clean linen and sweet spices and laid it in a new tomb.
But on the third day you rose, O Lord,
granting the world great mercy."
May God our Redeemer show us compassion and love. Amen.