A couple of weeks ago, we had the Gospel reading from Matthew about being a servant; about humility and about the exaltation the Father bestows on those who are humble and serve others in Love. At the time, I promised St. Benedict's "12 Steps" to Humility. I got distracted... so better late than never. These steps come from The Rule of St. Benedict. The Rule is St. Benedict's vision for a monk's lifestyle and prayer life within a monastery. So, while some of the rules are meant for monks living is silence and solitude, they really do apply to our modern life as well (and there are many, many books that discuss this; just tool around amazon.com for a while if you're interested).
I'm going to use modern language to summarize the rule, but will try to retain the full meaning of what St. Benedict was trying to teach. I mean, after all, he was saint and the Father of Western Monasticism; I'm just a poor simple country farm boy trying to do the Lord's Will.
Click here for a description of St. Benedict's The Rule.
The 12 Steps to Humility
1. Remember that God is God and I'm not. He Loves us; He's Our Father and He wants wants best for us.
2. And He wants us to co-operate with Him. We need to try everyday to do not our own will, but that of the Father.
3. If we are in a position someone has authority over us, than we willing submit to that authority.
4. If, in that submission, we suffer, we accept quietly and then pray to persevere.
5. Frequent celebration of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. And, if we mess up at home, work, or among friends, we are quick to admit it and set things right.
6. When called upon to do something we might consider "menial", we willingly embrace it and do with joy and commitment.
7. With our words and actions, we confess that we are unworthy of any praise and that we constantly remind ourselves that ALL IS GIFT!
8. Always follow the rules: at work, home, on the road, on the ball field, etc.
9. With our words: just because we have an opinion doesn't necessarily mean we have to share it.
10. Be ready to laugh: laughter comes from Joy, and Joy is a sign of Hope.
11. Speak gently: yelling hardly accomplishes anything.
12. With our actions and body language: being overbearing, 'standing over' someone sends a message of control and power. Instead, be open and relaxed, and welcoming.
There you have it. St. Benedict's 12 Steps of Humility. It's not fail-safe but we can begin working at them and include them in our journey to Holiness.
Peace to you today,