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 Do not be so sure that the teaching of St. Benedict on self-will is out of date.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