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Fraser Trevor Fraser Trevor Author
Title: 12 Steps: The Value of Humility
Author: Fraser Trevor
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  1. The Word of God in scripture teaches us in clear and resounding terms that anyone who lays claim to a high position will be brought low...

 

1. The Word of God in scripture teaches us in clear and resounding terms that anyone who lays claim to a high position will be brought low and anyone who is modest in self-appraisal will be lifted up. This is Christ's teaching about the guest who took the first place at the king's banquet: All who exalt themselves, he said, will be humbled and all who humble themselves will be exalted. He taught us by these words that whenever one of us is raised to a position of prominence, there is always an element of pride involved. The spalmist show his concern to avoid this when he says: There is no pride in my heart, O Lord, nor arrogance in the look of my eyes; I have not aspired to a role too great for me nor to the glamour of pretensions that are beyond me. We should be wary of such calls for correction and so the psalm goes on: If I failed to keep a modest spirit and raised my ambitions too high, then your correction would come down on me as though I were nothing but a newly weaned child on its mother's lap.

2 If the peak of our endeavor, then is to achieve profound humility, if we are eager to be raised quickly to that heavenly height to which we can climb only through humility during our present life, then let us make for ourselves a ladder like the one which Jacob saw in his dream. On that ladder angels of God were shown to him going up and down in a constant exchange between heaven and earth. It is just such an exchange that we need to establish in our our lives, but with this difference for us: Our proud attempts at upward climbing will really bring us doen, whereas to step downward in humility is the way to lift our spirit up toward God.

3) This ladder, then, will symbolize for each of us our life in this world during which we aspire to be lifted up to heavena by the Lord if only we can learn humility in our hearts. We can imagine that he has placed the steps of the ladder, held in place by the sides which signify our living body and soul, to invite us to climb on them. Paradoxically, to clib upward will take us down to earth but stepping down will lift us toward heaven. The steps themselves, then, mark the decisions we are invited by God to make in the exercise of humility and self-discipline.

4. The first step of humility is to cherish at all times the sense of awe with which we should ever turn to God. It should drive all forgetfulness away; it should keep our minds alive to all God's guidance and commandments; it should make us reflect in our hearts again and again that those who despise God and reject his love prepare for themselves that irreversible spiritual death which is meant by hell, just as eternal life is prepared for those who fear God.

5. One who follows that way finds protection at all times from sin and vice of thought, of tongue, of hand, of foot, of self-will, and of disordered sensual desire, so as to lead a life that is completely open before the scrutiny of God and of his angels who watch over us from hour to hour.

6. As to pursuing one's own will - Turn away from your own desires...pray that our Father’s will may be brought to fulfillment as Jesus taught in the Lord’s Prayer.

7. As to sensual desires believe that they are not hidden from God…be on guard against evil desires because spiritual death is not far from the gateway for wrongful pleasures: Do not pursue your lusts.

8. The second step of humility is not to love having our own way, nor delight in your own desires...with Jesus as our model do the will of him who sent us. Punishment awaits us for following our own will, but there is a crown of victory for doing what is required of us.i

s 9. The third step of humility is to submit oneself out of love of God to whatever obedience under a superior may require; it is the example of the Lord himself that we follow in this: He was made obedient even unto death.

s 10. The fourth step of humility is to readily accept in patient and silent endurance, without thought of giving up or avoiding the issue, any hard and demanding things that may come our way in the course of that obedience, even if they include harsh impositions that are unjust.

s 11. Those who follow in that way have a sure hope of reward from God and they are joyful with Saint Paul's words on their lips: In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.

s 12. The fifth step of humility is that we should not cover up but humbly confess to our superior or spiritual guide whatever evil thoughts come into our minds and the evil deeds we have done in secret. t

h13. The sixth step of humility is to accept without complaint really wretched and inadequate conditions, and then whatever the task you may be ordered to perform, they should think of themselves as poor workers not worthy of consideration, say quietly to themselves: I am of no account and lack understanding, no better than a beast in your sight.

s 14. The seventh step of humility is that we should be ready to speak of ourselves a less important and less worthy than others, as something we believe in the secret conviction of our hearts.

s 15. The eighth step of humility teaches us to do nothing which goes beyond what is approved and encourage by the common rule of the monastery and the example of the seniors.

s 16. The ninth step of humility leads us to refrain from unnecessary speech and guard silence by not speaking until addressed.

s 17. The tenth step of humility is teaches us not to be given to empty laughter on every least occasion. A fool's voice is forever raised in laughter.

s 18 The eleventh degree of humility is concerned with the manner of speech which is appropriate in a monastery. We should speak gently and seriously with words that are unassuming but serious. Be brief and reasonable in whatever you have to say and do not raise your voices to insist on our own opinions. The wise are to be recognized by the fewness of their words.

s 19. The twelfth step of humility is concerned with the external impression conveyed by those dedicated to monastic life. The humility of their hearts should ever be apparent to all who see a monk or nun: they should be free of any hint of arrogance or pride in their manner or the way they look about them. They should guard their eyes and look down. They should remember at all times that they are answerable for their sins just as though they already stood before the awesome judgment of God, repeating always in their hearts the words of the publican in the gospel as he stood with his eyes cast down, saying: Lord, I am not worthy, sinner that I am, to lift my eyes to the heavens.

s 20. Any monk or nun who has climbed all these steps of humility will come quickly to that love of God which in its fullness casts out all fear. Carried forward by that love, they will begin to observe without effort as though naturally from good habit all those precepts which in earlier days were kept at least partly through fear. A new motive will have taken over, not fear of hell but the love of Christ. Good habit and delight in virtue will carry them along. This happy state the Lord will bring about through the Holy Spirit in his servant, whom he has cleansed of vice and sin and taught to be a true and faithful worker in the kingdom.

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