Sunday, 5 February 2012

We are asked to believe in our own unimportance

This post at iBenedictines has drawn my attention to a section of chapter 7 of the Rule of St Benedict. My translation is a different one to that used in the post at iBenedictines, though reading the two different translations together does draw out somewhat the relevant nuance:
The seventh degree of humility is that he consider himself lower and of less account than anyone else, and this not only in verbal protestation but alsow ith the most heartfelt inner conviction, humbling himself and saying with the Prophet, "But I am a worm and no man, the scorn of men and the outcast of the people. After being exalted, I have been humbled and covered with confustion". And again, "It is good for me that You have humbled me, that I may learn Your commandments".
iBenedictines observes that St Benedict appears a bit over the top in suggesting that we should go around telling everyone how useless we are, but suggests that we should pay more careful attention to the opening words ("of less account") to notice the following:
We are asked, first of all, to believe in our own unimportance. That is not quite the same as proclaiming our unworthiness. In fact, it is a much quieter business altogether, which is why most of us don’t like it.
 It is tempting to think that one's blog, and what one says on it, is vitally important. It might be worthwhile instead to develop a healthy sense of its unimportance. Myself included.


Patricius said...

"It might be worthwhile instead to develop a healthy sense of its unimportance."

Perhaps...but what I value here is a depth of reflection that is an antidote to much that is superficial in the blogosphere.

Joe said...


Thank you for the kind comment.