Historical setting: 584 C.E.
Nic’s pages continue to argue the rule of God’s love against a rule to manage sprouting monks, and now Nic takes issue with flaunting humility. It’s a paradox that doesn’t slip by Nic easily.
Anatase reads on, “The old monk wrote, ’There are twelve steps and yet not much of true humility. Humility is what comes in awe of stars, or discovering one’s small place in the fullness of God’s love that speaks of the grandeur of all of Creation, even the grand value of you and me. But this written humility rule is driven by horrors, threats of angels reporting pride back to God and flat out fear of Hell. And just to be sure the exemplary righteous and ruly monk should appear humble he should ‘tip his head downward and look only at the ground.’ [Footnote ] But in doing so, I would expect he might see a true worm. Yet that very worm is a critter of nature beautiful in its own way and purpose. So how is pretending to be loathsome ever a display of humility? I ask you, dear friend Laz, please burry me with the worms before I accomplish this rule’.”
“Anatase, I’m certain the old monk Nic needed no rule to be humble in the sight of God; so any nosey angels watching to report back to God surely found no shred of inflated pridefullness in him to tell of. After all, he gave up his soldier’s plume of glory just to be my friend. Humble kindnesses came naturally to him simply because he was close to God whom he knew as love. In fact, for me, born a Jew, he gave up the hardest pride of all simply to practice love for neighbor in the same way Jesus taught. He gave up his well-honed personal prejudices — a big sacrifice that is. Did you ever hear the story Jesus told to explain what a neighbor is?”
“Maybe I already heard it; but you can tell me.”
“In this story Jesus was answering a lawyer’s question. He had to get the answer right, because this fellow knew every single little rule and he followed the law to the letter. So when Jesus said ‘love your neighbor’ the lawyer said, ‘and who would that be?’
“Jesus had a story for that. He said ‘A man was attacked by robbers and left for dead by the side of the road in a bad neighborhood. The man was a Jew, like Jesus and also like the lawyer asking the question.’”
[Footnote] White, Carolinne, Translator,The Rule of Benedict, London: Penguin Books, 2008. pages 22-26.