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Tuesday, June 4, 2024
Chapter 7

The sixth step of humility is that we are content with the lowest and most menial treatment, and regard ourselves as a poor and worthless worker in whatever task we are given, saying with the prophet: "I am insignificant and ignorant, no better than a beast before you, yet I am with you always (Ps 73:22-23)."

In a classless society status is snatched in normally harmless but corrosive little ways. We are a people who like embossed business cards, and monogrammed leather briefcases, and invitations to public events. We spend money we don't have to buy cars with sliding glass windows in the ceiling. We go into debt to buy at the right stores and live on the right street and go to the right schools. We call ourselves failures if we can't turn last year's models in on this year's styles. We measure our successes by the degree to which they outspan the successes of the neighbors. We have lost a sense of "enoughness."

Benedict tells us that it is bad for the soul to have to have more than the necessary, that it gluts us, that it protects us in plexiglass from the normal, the natural. Benedict says that the goal of life is not to amass things but to get the most out of whatever little we have. Benedict tells us to quit climbing. If we can learn to love life where we are, in what we have, then we will have room in our souls for what life alone does not have to offer.

The Tao Te Ching teaches, "Free from desire, you realize the mystery. Caught in desire, you see only the manifestations."