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Humility: Ascending by Descending


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Presentation about St. Benedict's teaching on humility, given at the Duluth Benedictine Oblate meeting on February 12, 2017.

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Humility: Ascending by Descending

  1. 1. Ascending by Descending: St. Benedict on Humility Sister Edith Bogue Duluth Benedictine Oblate Meeting 12 February 2017
  2. 2. 2 HARD SAYINGS (A RECAP) vv
  3. 3. 3 HARD SAYINGS: SEEM WRONG CONFUSE US MAKE US RELUCTANT PhotosfromSeptember2017Oblatemeetingslides.
  4. 4. 4 Whose Will?  Jesus' hard sayings call on us to… • Do things that seem contrary to accepted norms & practices, • Accept statements that we cannot grasp, • Relinquish our will in order to choose God's will.
  5. 5. 5 WHAT IS HUMILITY? QuotefromC.S.Lewis
  6. 6. 6 Humility as a Job Skill? medical-scribes-l-duluth,-mn-jobs-j22349165.html
  7. 7. 77 “What is humility? It is that habitual quality whereby we live in the truth of things: the truth that we are creatures and not the Creator. Bishop Robert Morneau Image:
  8. 8. 88  Humility is mentioned 93 times in the Bible  Fruit of the Spirit (Col. 3:12)  “Live in a manner worthy of the call you have received, with all humility & gentleness” (Eph 3:21)  “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:6) Humility and Scripture StatueofAmericanBenedictinenunpraying. St.BenedictMonastery,St.Joseph,Minnesota
  9. 9. 99 Jesus and Humility He called a child over, placed it in their midst, and said, "Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven." "Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever receives one child such as this in my name receives me." (Matthew 18:14)
  10. 10. 10 Humility,byRev.AndrewMurray “Humility is perfect quietness of heart. It is to expect nothing, to wonder at nothing that is done to me, to feel nothing done against me. It is to be at rest when nobody praises me, and when I am blamed or despised. It is to have a blessed home in the Lord, where I can go in and shut the door, and kneel to my Father in secret, and am at peace as in a deep sea of calmness, when all around and above is trouble.” Andrew Murray
  11. 11. 1111  Chapter 7 is the longest chapter in Benedict’s Rule.  Chapter 7 is the culmination of the Rule’s spiritual foundations.  Many of prescriptions of the Rule are specific examples or methods of living these 12 steps of humility. Humility and The Rule FrescoofSt.BenedictbyFraAngelico. MuseodiSanMarco,Florenz(FlorenceItaly)
  12. 12. 1212  The ladder is a dynamic symbol: one moves up or down on it  This ladder is reversed: • Exalting ourselves brings us lower • Humility brings us higher Humility Is a Journey… GeorgeRoualut,fromThePassionsequence
  13. 13. 1313  The ladder encompasses all of our lives: body and soul  The rungs are set by “our divine vocation” • We do not climb them once and call it done. • Our motion goes in both directions. • St. Benedict promises that, as we progress, the practices of humility become sweet. ...not a destination
  15. 15. 1515  Autonomy and self-determination are major values in our culture  The 12-Step (A.A) groups say: “Doing what I want to do is what brought me to where I am now.”  Humility shows us the truth of our limitations  It sets us free from our unlimited desires. Choosing Not to Choose FromanexhibitionofAsianArt.Informationnolongeravailable.
  16. 16. 16 Patience  Benedict tells us: "When this obedience involves hard and contrary things, or even when there may be undeserved injuries, one’s mind quietly embraces patience." RB 7.35  We will experience things we think are unjust or injurious.  Our first reaction, and the social norm, is to protest and struggle to right the wrong.  Patience is conscious acceptance of pain. • Easier when we can see the benefit. • Most humble when we cannot.
  17. 17. 1717 One is content with the lowest and most menial treatment, and regards oneself as a poor and worthless worker. RB 7.49 When we are treated poorly, when we lack things we feel that we need, when our world is unmade: it is in those circumstances that we truly and deeply encounter the reality of our self: We depend on God for absolutely everything. All is gift. Nothing is earned or deserved. Imagesourceunavailable.
  18. 18. 1818 One not only proclaims with the tongue but believes with the deepest feeling of the heart that one is inferior to all and more worthless. RB 7.51 The center of the 12 Steps:  Sincere awareness that, as Pope Francis says, "I am a sinner."  Looking holy is a constant temptation, especially in religious life.  Inner practices are the only way to true humility: • Acknowledge my faults • Refrain from excuses  This is the foundation for growing closer to God. Imagesourceunavailable.
  19. 19. 1919  After Step 7, we are at a place where others can finally help us in our climb to humility.  We become "teachable" and ready to focus on the needs of all rather than just our own.  We do not strive to seem better (compete) nor appear to be special. Community and HumilitySourceofimageisnotknown.
  20. 20. 2020  From our new perspective, we become aware of our impact on our community. Our highest desire is for our actions to make it better.  Gravitas is the custody of our behavior as taciturnitas is the custody of the tongue.  We do strive to seem better (competition) or special. Silence and Gentle SpeechThomasHartBenton,TheLordisMyShepherd(1926)
  21. 21. 2121  Our heart becomes attuned to the reality of our souls.  The humble actions we did from obedience become the desires of our heart.  The fruit of humility is inner and outer peace.  "Success" is constant joy in the everyday spiritual practices. Intentio cordis Sourceofphotounknown.
  22. 22. 22 THE OCCASIONS OF HUMILITY FromTheGreatestStoryEverTold(dir.GeorgeStevens,1965) Imagefoundat Mmh48HU8nzc/VE2ecpabFgI/AAAAAAAADqc/6YzbMJMpfk4/s1600/greateststoryevertold-simonofcyrene.jpg
  23. 23. 2323  We do make progress on this journey.  Yet each day brings its trials and frustrations.  A new perspective: occasions of humility.  We could protest, demand, and sulk OR  We can use gentle quiet and calm service to bring peace and joy. Always We Begin Again JohnAugustSwanson,TheWashingoftheFeet
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  25. 25. 25 Humility and the Paschal Mystery  Slowly, humility leads to the death of our false self, the images we cling to so tightly.  Only with the gradual demise of that false self can God draw out the joy and beauty of our true self: the image of God. Sourceofpaintingisnotknown.
  26. 26. 26 NELSON MANDELA ON HUMILITY AND PEACE Mandela and Oprah
  27. 27. 27 Humility: Growing Our Wings Child'spaintingpostedonWilkinsonSchoolwebsite,1997.
  28. 28. Ascending by Descending: St. Benedict on Humility Sister Edith Bogue Duluth Benedictine Oblate Meeting 12 February 2017