Humility is about learning one’s place in the world.
But to understand this Benedictine pillar, I think we need to understand another Benedictine pillar – stewardship. Humility is more complex and demanding than mere self-abnegation. It is not our calling to refuse to acknowledge one’s gifts. To do so would be as wrong as claiming gifts and powers we don’t possess. It is also not logical for God to give us a gift, and then not use it for humanity’s sake.
Sometimes the perfect is the enemy of the good. In an effort to be perfect (humble) should we deny and refuse the gifts meant to aid? No. Humility simply requires that we acknowledge the source of our gifts – God, and that we use them in the service of others. The gifts of God are not to be worn as a crown, but as tools to aid humanity.
Stewardship helps us keep our balance. Just like we are called to be good stewards of the land, the sea, and the earth’s inhabitants, we are called to be good stewards of our individual gifts from God. The devil snakes in our good impulses of love of one’s family, love of one’s faith, and love of one’s country and twists them into insularity, intolerance, and imperialism. Stewardship brings us back into harmony and balance when we are tempted to claim a throne not rightfully ours.
Editor’s Note: Please forgive the weird timing of this week’s posts. We are traveling so I have to post when I get access to Wi-Fi.