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