Benedict’s Rule of Life – Part 7

steps-of-humility-and-pride-2

 

Chapter 7 of Benedict’s Rule of Life is about “Humility” as introduced in the previous entry. Here we will consider each of the 12 steps of the Ladder of Humility.

 

  1. The first step of humility is that a man keeps the fear of God always before his eyes and never forgets it.
  2. The second step of humility is that a man loves not his own will nor takes pleasure in the satisfaction of his desires; rather he shall imitate by his actions that saying of the Lord, “I have come not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me.”
  3. The third step of humility is that a man submits to his superior in all obedience for the love of God, imitating the Lord, of whom the Apostle says, “He became obedient even to death.”
  4. The fourth step of humility is that in this obedience under difficult, unfavorable, or even unjust conditions, his heart quietly embraces suffering and endures it without weakening or seeking escape.
  5. The fifth step of humility is that a man does not conceal from his abbot any sinful thoughts entering his heart, or any wrongs committed in secret, but rather confesses them humbly.
  6. The sixth step of humility is that a monk is content with the lowest and most menial treatment, and regards himself as a poor and worthless workman in whatever task he is given.
  7. The seventh step of humility is that a man only admits with his tongue but is also convinced in his heart that he is inferior to all and of less value, humbling himself in order to learn God’s commandments.
  8. The eighth step of humility is that a monk does only what is endorsed by the common rule of the monastery and the example set by his superiors.
  9. The ninth step of humility is that a monk controls his tongue and remains silent, not speaking unless asked a question, for ‘in a flood of words you will not avoid sinning.’
  10. The tenth step of humility is that he is not given to ready laughter, for it is written, ‘only a fool raises his voice in laughter.’
  11. The eleventh step of humility is that a monk speaks gently and without laughter, seriously and with becoming modesty, briefly and reasonably, but without raising his voice, as it is written, ‘A wise man is known by his few words.’
  12. The twelfth step of humility is that a monk always manifests humility in his bearing no less than in his heart, so that it is evident at the Work of God, in the oratory, the monastery or the garden, on a journey or in the field, or anywhere else.

 

For Benedict, ascending all these steps of humility is how the person arrives at the doorstep of perfect love of God, which casts out all fear. What may start out being lives of love performed out of dread, will now become more naturally lives filled with the expressions of good habit and delight in virtue – all out of love for Christ. “All this the Lord will by the Holy Spirit graciously manifest in his workman now cleansed of vices and sins.”

 

Imagine for a moment if each of your words, attitudes, actions, and interactions were a reflection of the humility of Christ, expressed through you and for God’s glory. What would be your most dramatic impressions of loving humility shared possibly for the very first time?

 

Consider crafting your own rule of life and join the community of other like hearts and minds at www.RuleOfLife.com

 

 

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Steve Macchia

Founder & President

The Rev. Dr. Stephen A. Macchia is founder and president of Leadership Transformations, Inc. (LTI), a ministry serving the spiritual formation, discernment, and renewal of leaders and learners since 2003. For more than 20 years he has been the Director of the Pierce Center for Disciple-Building at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, where he also serves as an adjunct faculty member in the Doctor of Ministry Program. From 1989-2003 he was the president of Vision New England, the largest regional church renewal association in the country. Earlier in his ministry life, Steve was a member of the pastoral staff of Grace Chapel in Lexington, Massachusetts for 11 years. He is the author or co-author of 17 books, including The Discerning Life (Zondervan Reflective), and Crafting a Rule of Life, Becoming A Healthy Church (LTI), and Broken and Whole (IVP).  He and his wife Ruth live in the Boston (MA) area and are the proud parents of two married children and grandparents to three adorable grandchildren. Steve’s personal website is www.SteveMacchia.com.

My soul comes alive singing the great hymns of the church and enjoying the beauty of God’s creation. I’m in awe of God for fulfilling the dream for LTI that he birthed in my heart, for the team he has assembled, and the transformational impact experienced in the leaders and teams we serve.

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Mitzi Mak

Selah-West Faculty

Mitzi started her professional life as a high school social studies teacher. She and her husband Jerry then served cross-culturally for ten+ years, living abroad first in India and then Kurdistan, N. Iraq. In addition to being a Spiritual Director, she now serves as a Formation and Care pastor in her local church in Houston, TX. She has graduated from LTI’s Selah Spiritual Direction training as well as LTI’s Emmaus Formational Leadership Program.

Mitzi enjoys engaging conversation, reading fiction, doing jigsaw/crossword puzzles, ocean gazing and exploring the world with Jerry through food and travel.

God has two main callings in Mitzi’s life: to care for those who care for others and to be a guide in helping others have a healthy relationship with the Trinity – recognizing God’s loving presence and activity in their lives and how to faithfully respond.

Selah was a transformative experience for me – allowing the contemplative within to emerge and to beautifully co-exist with my extraverted personality.