St. Benedict's 12 Degrees of Humility: The Sixth Degree

St. Benedict of Nursia

St. Benedict of Nursia

This month we will look at the sixth degree of Humility as written in St. Benedict’s Rule.

This degree states:

“The sixth degree of humility
is that a monk be content
with the poorest and worst of everything,
and that in every occupation assigned him
he consider himself a bad and worthless workman,
saying with the Prophet,
“I am brought to nothing and I am without understanding;
I have become as a beast of burden before You,
and I am always with You” (Ps. 72[73]:22-23).”

Well, this is a really difficult level. In a world that constantly lures us to new and better things, to the current fashions, and 500 square feet more, we are asked by a saint from hundreds of years ago to be content with what we have. Not only that, we are also asked to see ourselves as unworthy of anything more than what we already have. One of St. Benedict’s principles is simplicity in all things. It is so easy to think one more gadget will make our lives easier but in reality it becomes just one more thing to take care of or repair when it breaks. What it all boils down to is trust; trust in the Almighty that He will give us what we need when we need it and we are to be thankful for what we have.

It is hard to think of ourselves as “a bad and worthless workman,” but this level of humili-ty takes us to the reality that “I am a worm, and no man; scorned by men, and despised by the people,” (Psalm 22:6). St. Benedict wants us to see that our whole existence re-volves around God and we are nothing without Him. Our very next breath comes from Him. Even people who choose to believe there is no God, are still dependent on God, whether they believe it or not.

The greatest example we have in living out this level of humility is the Blessed Mother. Blessed John Paul II, soon to be Saint, wrote, “This woman of faith, Mary of Nazareth, the mother of God, has been given to us as a model in our pilgrimage of faith. From Mary, we learn to surrender to God’s will in all things.” She shows us that we are to praise God in the happy and the sad times, in the prosperous and the arid times. Mary was a perfect witness of grace in suffering. She revealed to us there is always growth in the struggle. It is simply a different season in which God calls us to Himself to learn a deeper level of faith.

We can and should believe that all we have and do is because of God’s grace and even when we don’t have and can’t do, that too is God’s grace. We just have to look for the fruit that is born in the struggle continuing to trust that this too is God’s plan. Remem-ber, God is God! I am not! He’s got this!!

God’s blessings!

Copyright 2014 Diane Schwind


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