Monday, July 9, 2012


Obedience is a defense against self-will; no wolf is cleverer at assuming sheep's clothing than the wolf of self-will.  What St. Benedict says about this defect sends a chill down the spine.  It seems to go against what we call today self-expression, self-fulfillment, and the rest.  But he has a point here.  It is easy to make ourselves the center of our own little universe, to live our lives for our own self-aggrandizement, our own self-gratification.  "Good" people fall into this trap.  In their zeal they try to compete with others, trample them underfoot.  Do not be so sure that the teaching of St. Benedict on self-will is out of date.  Experience shows us how subtly, very subtly, we an see... "self."  The art of being a Christian and therefore the art of being a monk, is to learn to put God at the center -- the love of God and of our neighbor; to be devoted to God and to our neighbor.  You meet people who apparently are very spiritual, very holy -- only to detect, on closer acquaintance, that self-seeking takes precedence over seeking God or the service of their neighbor.

~ Cardinal Basil Hume, OSB
in Praying with the Benedictines,
A Window on the Cloister

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