Skip to main content


Wednesday, May 29, 2024
Chapter 7

Truly, we are forbidden to do our own will, for scripture tells us: "Turn away from your desires (Sir 18:30)." And in prayer too we ask that God's "will be done " in us (Mt 6:10). We are rightly taught not to do our own will, since we dread what scripture says: "There are ways which some call right that in the end plunge into the depths of hell (Prv 16:25)." Moreover, we fear what is said of those who ignore this: "They are corrupt and have become depraved in their desires (Ps 14:1)."

As for the desires of the body, we must believe that God is always with us, for "All my desires are known to you (Ps 38:10)," as the prophet tells God. We must then be on guard against any base desire, because death is stationed near the gateway of pleasure. For this reason Scripture warns us, "Pursue not your lusts (Sir 18:30)."

Benedict makes two points clearly: First, we are capable of choosing for God in life. We are not trapped by an essential weakness that makes God knowable but not possible. Second, we are more than the body. Choosing God means having to concentrate on nourishing the soul rather than on sating the flesh, not because the flesh is bad but because the flesh is not enough to make the human fully human. To give ourselves entirely to the pleasures of the body may close us to beauties known only to the soul.

Humility lies in knowing who we are and what our lives are meant to garner. The irony of humility is that, if we have it, we know we are made for greatness, we are made for God.