St. Benedict for Beginners – The Seventh Step to Humility

This is the thirteenth in a series on St. Benedict for Beginners. – The Editors


“Saint Benedict of Nursia” by Fra Angelico

The Seventh Step to Humility

‘The seventh step of humility is that the monk should not only say in his words that he is inferior and less virtuous than other men, but he should believe it in his heart.’

This advice sounds like St Benedict wants us to grovel and mumble that we are just lowly worms.

Not really. He stresses that he wants lowliness not just of words, but of the heart.

We should remember that this lowliness is based on an earlier step of humility – which is making a complete and thorough confession. Furthermore, the lowliness Benedict recommends is linked not with our gifts and accomplishments, but our virtue.

It is easy to confuse worldly accomplishments like good manners or career success or prosperity or good friendships with virtue. All of these other things are good, but they are not to be equated necessarily with accomplishment in virtue.

Growth in virtue is, at its heart, growth in goodness.

Growth in goodness is not just growth in doing good things. It is growth in becoming good at the very heart of our being, and this kind of goodness is only possible as we become not only good, but like God.

Once we realize that the goal is to be “perfect as God is perfect”, we will have a realistic assessment of our virtue or lack of it. When we compare our present state to the target God has for us it won’t be too difficult to realize that we have an awful long way still to go.


Fr. Dwight Longenecker is the author of “Listen My Son” – a commentary on the Rule of St Benedict for families. Visit Fr. Dwight’s website to buy a copy here.

Fr. Dwight Longenecker is the parish priest of Our Lady of the Rosary Church in Greenville, South Carolina. He is author of thirteen books on the Catholic faith. Praying the Rosary for Inner Healing is available in Catholic bookshops and through his website: dwightlongenecker.com

Follow Fr. Longenecker on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/frlongenecker



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About the Author

Fr. Dwight Longenecker is the parish priest of Our Lady of the Rosary Church in Greenville, South Carolina. He conducts parish missions, retreats and speaks at conferences across the USA.

His latest book is The Romance of Religion - Fighting for Truth, Goodness and Beauty. Visit his blog, listen to his radio show, and browse his books at dwightlongenecker.com.

Catechesis teaches us what to believe and how to behave, but Catholics also need down to earth advice for putting their faith into action. For help in your practice of the Catholic faith sign up for FaithWorks! -- Fr Longenecker's free, weekly newsletter on the practical practice of the Catholic faith.

Visit Fr. Longenecker on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/frlongenecker.

Fr. Dwight Longenecker is an American who has spent most of his life living and working in England. Fr Dwight was brought up in an Evangelical home in Pennsylvania. After graduating from the fundamentalist Bob Jones University with a degree in Speech and English, he went to study theology at Oxford University. He was eventually ordained as an Anglican priest and served as a curate, a school chaplain in Cambridge and a country parson.

Realizing that he and the Anglican Church were on divergent paths, in 1995 Fr. Dwight and his family were received into the Catholic Church. He spent the next ten years working as a freelance Catholic writer, contributing to over twenty-five magazines, papers and journals in Britain, Ireland and the USA.

Fr. Dwight is the editor of a best-selling book of English conversion stories called The Path to Rome - Modern Journeys to the Catholic Faith. He has written Listen My Son - a daily Benedictine devotional book which applies the Rule of St Benedict to the task of modern parenting. St Benedict and St Thérèse is a study of the lives and thought of two of the most popular saints.

In the field of Catholic apologetics, Fr. Dwight wrote Challenging Catholics with John Martin, the former editor of the Church of England Newspaper. More Christianity is a straightforward and popular explanation of the Catholic faith for Evangelical Christians. Friendly and non-confrontational, it invites the reader to move from 'Mere Christianity' to 'More Christianity'. Mary-A Catholic Evangelical Debate is a debate with an old Bob Jones friend David Gustafson who is now an Evangelical Episcopalian.

Fr. Dwight’s Adventures in Orthodoxy is described as ‘a Chestertonian romp through the Apostles’ Creed.’ He wrote Christianity Pure&Simple which was published by the Catholic Truth Society in England and Sophia Institute Press in the USA. He has also published How to Be an Ordinary Hero and his book Praying the Rosary for Inner Healing was published by Our Sunday Visitor in May 2008. His latest books are The Gargoyle Code - a book in the tradition of Screwtape Letters and a book of poems called A Sudden Certainty, Adventures in Orthodoxy and The Romance of Religion.

Fr. Dwight has contributed a chapter to the third volume of the best selling Surprised by Truth series and is a regular contributor to Crisis Magazine, St Austin Review, This Rock, Our Sunday Visitor and National Catholic Register. Fr. Dwight has also written a couple of children’s books, had three of his screenplays produced, and is finishing his first novel. He’s working on a book on angels and his autobiography: There and Back Again.

In 2006 Fr. Dwight accepted a post as Chaplain to St Joseph’s Catholic School in Greenville, South Carolina. This brought him and his family back, not only to his hometown, but also to the American Bible belt, and hometown of Bob Jones University. In December 2006 he was ordained as a Catholic priest under the special pastoral provision for married former Anglican clergy. He is the Administrator of Our Lady of the Rosary Church in Greenville, South Carolina, and an oblate of Belmont Abbey.

Fr. Dwight enjoys movies, blogging, books, and visiting Benedictine monasteries. He’s married to Alison. They have four children, named Benedict, Madeleine, Theodore and Elias. They live in Greenville, South Carolina with a black Labrador named Anna, a chocolate lab called Felicity, cat named James and various other pets.

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1 Comment

  1. Humility. Fr. Baron says this, “It is the antidote to pride”. How true. Eve was demostrating pride and all it’s glory when she accepted the serpents lie and she would become the decider of what is good and evil. Mary, on the otherhand, demostrates humility perfectly when told of her mission in life, to bear the Son of God, her response is most beautiful, ” Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done according to your word.”
    Pride = disobience = death (spiritual death)
    Humility = obedience = Life (spiritual life)
    God is life and with Christ as our Lord and Saviour, we may obtain Eternal Life

    God Bless

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