Monday, August 6, 2012

Humility as Truth, Part IV

We Are Stalled Human Beings

None of us has had an uninterrutped journey through life.  We have all had bad experiences which have led us astray, slowed us down, brought us to a halg, or maybe even sent us tumbling backwards.  There have been difficulties, mistakes, inconsistencies.  Sometimes these are caused by others.  Sometimes they are aided and abetted by ourselves.  As a result, we adults carry through life a measure of woundedness, although we are rarely conscious of its full magnitude.  the fact is that we have not progressed to the extent of our innate potentialities.  Many past events continue to have a permanent effect on our lives.  We also bear the burden of shame at our own imcompleteness.  Each one of us has fallen short of the glory of God (Rom 3:23).

Humility involves the acceptance of the liabilities of our personal history as reality.  We do not have to approve what others have done to us or the ugliness that we have embraced and the laziness that has left us stagnant.  It is a question of recognizing the truth of our present situation as deriving from the past and beginning anew.  Pride denies the past has passed.  It ignores present possibilities by constantly reliving former experiences in an effort to correct what is beyong our power to change.  It is the kind of perfectionism that cannot accept the approximativeness of most human life...  Trying to tinker with the past is an exercise in bad faith.  We use former unfairness, for example, as an excuse to refuse the demands of the present.  Those who consider themselves victims are often notoriously insensitive to the hurt they inflict on others...

If we do not accept the unreality of some of our ideals, it may be that disappointment will make us unwilling to attempt anything bold.  Challenges are unwelcome because each choice we make narrows the possibilities for the future...  We will never interact creatively with the present unless we accept that whatever we do will involve leaving aside alternatives and being satisfied with something that may well be imperfect.

from A Guide to Living in the Truth:  Saint Benedict's Teaching on Humility
by Michael Casey

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