Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Humility in the eighth degree

The eighth degree of humility is that a monk do nothing except what is commended by the common Rule of the monastery and the example of the elders.
The eighth step is brief, but no less profound. We have already seen that if we want to walk with God, then we cannot walk our own way, unless our wills be perfectly aligned to God's. St Benedict points out that his Rule is for beginners, not for the adept. If our wills are perfectly aligned to God's, then we have no need of Rule, or even of Holy Scripture itself because we are already united with the Divine.

This is true for the saints, but even then the Rule is so deeply embedded in their hearts that they have no need to refer to text. We are saints in the making and thus we still need perfection. The Rule is there for us to pull us back when we stray. It is rooted in Holy Scripture so that it keeps us on the path of Salvation, guiding us and correcting us when we stray as long as we submit ourselves to its authority. The saints are our examples, our lights pointing out the way in the darkness.

Our perfection is the acquisition of Love; Love etches the Will of God into our hearts to render the Rule and Scripture part of us rather than texts to memorise, scrutinise, and study.

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