“The Lord’s instruction is perfect, reviving one’s very being”. (Psalm 19:7. The Common English Bible).
I read the most thought provoking words in the book Lent with Evelyn Underhill at Matins this morning.
“To the alarming list of innate vices which you have managed to get together I would like to add another: Pride. All this preoccupation with your own imperfection is not humility. but an insidious form of spiritual pride.” (See page 52 in the Second Edition of this book).
Human perfection and Christian perfection are not one and the same thing. Making sure all our prayers get said properly, as a matter of perfection is of least importance. Saying our prayers while seeking a greater love for God and others is what Christian perfection and humility are about. Humility is not about focusing on ourselves and all that is wrong with us.
“The first step of humility, is that a monastic keeps the reverence of God before oneself, and never forgets it.” (The Rule of Saint Benedict, Chapter 7 On Humility, paraphrased).
Thomas Merton in his book, The Rule of Saint Benedict: Initiation into the Monastic Tradition 4 he wrote,
“If we concentrate directly on humility, our humility will be false. If we concentrate on our relationships with others, and with God, our humility will be true. (see page 173).
Earlier in the book, Merton wrote,
“The active life of humility leads to the contemplative life of union with Christ by love.” (See page 156).
As contemplatives we are on a constant journey of turning ourselves over to God, so that God can bring us into a deeper relationship with the Holy One. Humility in The Rule of Saint Benedict reminds us that God is God, and we are not. Contemplative prayer is not about learning these things in our minds, so to analyze and understand them. Contemplative prayer is about letting go so God can revive us at the very center of ourselves. It comes by being open to seeing ourselves from God’s perspective. In so doing, we read, mark, learn and inwardly digest that in humility God is God, and we are not.
Are you seeking to make yourself perfect before God?
What might you need to do to let go and let God be God in your life?
Peace be with all who enter here.
Brother Anselm Philip King-Lowe, OSB
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