Community on retreat 22-30 July. Services open; shop closed.

The twelfth degree of humility…

The twelfth degree of humility is that a monk should not only be humble of heart, but should also in his behaviour always manifest his humility to those who look upon him. That is to say that whether he is at the work of God, in the oratory, in the monastery, in the garden, on the road, in the fields, or anywhere else, and whether sitting, walking or standing, he should always have his head bowed and his eyes downcast, pondering always the guilt of his sins, and considering that he is about to be brought before the dread judgement seat of God. Let him constantly say in his heart what was said with downcast eyes by the publican in the Gospel: Lord, I a sinner am not worthy to raise mine eyes to heaven. And again with the prophet: I am bowed down and humbled on every side.1

Then, when all these degrees of humility have been climbed, the monk will presently come to that perfect love of God which casts out all fear: whereby he will begin to observe without labour, as though naturally and by habit, all those precepts which formerly he did not observe without fear; no longer for fear of hell, but for love of Christ and through good habit and delight in virtue. And this will the Lord deign to show forth by the power of his Spirit in his workman now cleansed from vice and from sin.

1Ps xxxvii, 7, 9; cxviii, 107