The Second Degree
30/January/2009 Filed in: Chapter Talks
It can be a very telling exercise to go through the Rule of St Benedict and note how often he refers to the will and what he has to say about it. Today's brief extract (RB 7.31-3) compares and contrasts self-will and the will of God. I think this Second Degree of Humility causes more trouble than most others! It is not that it is difficult to love God's will or prefer God's will to one's own, though heaven knows that can be a struggle at times, it is that that we are often confused about what God's will is. How do we distinguish our own will from his? We have all experienced strong drawings or attractions that we thought were God's will, only to discover that they were in fact our own will dressed up in a little borrowed piety. Benedict gives a few pointers: following the voice of authority, the pursuit of obligation or necessity. They are grey and undramatic, as life frequently is. Perhaps it would be more helpful to think back to the day when we knew we must become a nun: no trumpets sounded, we simply knew that this was what we had to do, and we embraced the unknown, sure only of God's involvement in our choice.