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Thursday, June 6, 2024
Chapter 7

The eighth step of humility is that we do only what is endorsed by the common rule of the monastery and the example set by the prioress or abbot.

"It is better to ask the way ten times than to take the wrong road once," a Jewish proverb reads. The eighth degree of humility tells us to stay in the stream of life, to learn from what has been learned before us, to value the truths taught by others, to seek out wisdom and enshrine it in our hearts. The eighth degree of humility tells us to attach ourselves to teachers so that we do not make the mistake of becoming our own blind guides.

It is so simple to become a law unto ourselves. The problem with it is that it leaves us little chance to be carried by others. It takes a great deal of time to learn all the secrets of life by ourselves. It makes it impossible for us to come to know what our own lights have no power to signal. It leaves us dumb, undeveloped and awash in a naked arrogance that blocks our minds, cripples our souls and makes us unfit for the relationships that should enrich us beyond our merit and despite our limitations.

Our living communities have a great deal to teach us. All we need is respect for experience and the comforting kind of faith that it takes to do what we cannot now see to be valuable, but presume to be holy because we see the holiness that it has produced in those who have gone before us in the family and the church.