To be read: January 19, May 19, September 19
Do not be proud… 35Do not be given to wine(cf Ti 1:7; 1 Tm 3:3). 36Do not eat to excess, 37or be given to much sleep. 38Do not be slothful(cf Rom 12:11). 39Do not grumble. 40Do not speak ill of another. 41Put your trust in God alone. 42If you see what is good in yourself, give the credit to God. 43But be sure that any evil in yourself is your own and charge it to yourself.
“Do not be proud…” A difficult command for most. And yet, most of us would argue that we are not prone to pride. The outward signs of pride are not necessarily visible, and the evil one wants us to deny that this deadly sin is an issue for us. Too quickly we believe the lie, and so we become proud that pride is not a problem for us. Hmmm.
The first verses of this section, verses 35-38, are an exhortation against gluttony in all of its varied forms, and we need to take notice of these. Let us carefully examine them and let the light of these test and challenge us. Then Benedict comes back to the issues of interpersonal relationships: “Do not grumble…[or] speak ill of another.” Again, how easy it is to fall into the trap of gossip and speaking ill of another. How do we avoid doing these wrongs, and how can we begin to apply these precepts to our lives? In our fallen nature we all look at the apple and find it pleasing to the eye (Gen. 3:1-6). We are gluttonous, and covetous, and prideful by nature—fallen nature. But God… “With God all things are possible” (Mark 10:27). But God… He alone can save us from ourselves. But God… He alone can give us the grace of discipline. And so Benedict gives us this tool: “Put your trust in God alone.” Anything good found within us is from God, so “give the credit to God.” Trust Him, and allow Him to begin to transform us into His Image.