Humility, Obedience, Patience: October 2003 Archives

from St Benedict and St. Thérèse: The Little Rule and the Little Way
Dwight Longenecker

Ironically, in rejecting an external infallible authority we are encouraged to embrace the most fickle and fallible of all authorities--our own judgment. We then cling to our opinions like a shipwrecked man clings to a splinter of wood, and before long, our opinions are unassailable. In the end we don't have one objective, infallible authority but millions of subjective "infallible" authorities, and in this absurdity, we rejoice.

While one could read this to referto non-Christians, I find the indictment as pointed, and perhaps more so for Christians--because we ought to know better. I often act as if I am in ignorance of this critical aspect of Christian Life. Sometimes, I think my lack of obedience is due more to my thickheadedness, not understanding what is being said to me. But sometimes I wonder if I simply ignore the all-too-obvious messages that get reiterated time and again because it is convenient to me to do so. To wit--should I stop blogging. I blog because I love it, and yet the calamities of recent days, my reading, "incidental" and "accidental" posts, and any number of bits of circumstantial evidence conspire to suggest that perhaps the suggestion is something stronger than a suggestion. What then does obedience demand?

First, it would seem that obedience demands clarity. To act of suppositions, whims, distortions, and feelings is hardly a substantial basis for obedience. On the other hand, how does one properly discern the proper way to go. I honestly don't really know. I must assume that prayer will put me in the right place and short of that nothing can resolve the dilemma.

So, too, it would seem with all situations calling for obedience--discernment is often difficult, so I ask you all to pray. For several weeks, evidence has been mounting that suggests that perhaps I should remove myself from the blogging world--there is nothing here that cannot be found elsewhere in perhaps more charitable climes. Please pray as I try to figure out what these events are saying. Are they gentle nudges saying,"Clean up your act" or a forceful shove that says "Get off the stage." Obviously you can't answer that question, only God can, please pray that I hear what He is saying and can find the strength of will to act upon it.

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On Humility

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from Ordinary Graces
complied by Lorraine Kisly

Humility is just as much the opposite of self-abasement as it is of self-exaltation. to be humble is not to make comparisons. Secure in its reality, the self is neither better nor worse, bigger nor smaller, than anything else in the universe. It is--is nothing, yet at the same time one with everything. It is in this sense that humility is absolute self-effacement.

To be nothing in the self-effacement of humility, yet, for the sake of the task, to embody its whole weight and importance in your bearing, as the one who has been called to undertake it. To give to people, works, poetry, art, what the self can contribute, and to take, simply and freely, what belongs to it by reason of its identity. Praise and blame, the winds of success and adversity, blow over such a life without leaving a trace or upsetting its balance.

Towards this, so help me, God--

Dag Hammerskjöld

While there is much food for thought here, I have a simple note on the beginning. Some time back there were comments about false-humility in Catholicism. There was some intimation that when one looked at a veritable monster, say Saddam Hussein, and said, I am the chiefest of sinners, there was something false in that humility. But it is possible for the humble person, and necessary, it would seem, to say, "I am the chiefest of sinners." For in humility we do not compare, and so we would know only our own state and in that knowledge each one of us is, in fact, the biggest sinner we know. Now, there is part of me that reels at the contradiction--surely I can look out into the world and see people who have done things far worse than I could ever contemplate--they are thickly encrusted in the deepest darkest muck of sin. I however, have never done such things, but I have done others. My muck may be of a different color, but for all I know may be twice as thick as the person I am looking at. We forget that ALL sin is equally abhorrent in the eyes of God. Anyway, I belabor the point. True humility does not admit of comparison--comparison is nearly always an act of pride (when it is to oneself that the comparison is made).

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About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Humility, Obedience, Patience category from October 2003.

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