Why comfort and humility do not mix

I ran across some wonderful material today in Michael Casey's Living in the Truth: Saint Benedict's Teaching on Humility. Well, it's wonderfully true, but it's not wonderfully enjoyable. The point Casey makes in chapter four is that Benedict's doctrine of humility places our comfort and prosperity at odds with our humility. Here is how it works.

Humility is in large part a dependent openness toward God. That is, we see God as the answer to our needs, and we are receptive to any and all of his grace.

The problem is that when times are good, we drift off into a God-forgetting slumber. This is the gist of Moses' message in the book of Deuteronomy. He teaches something to the effect of: "When times are good, you will forget God. And then he will discipline you, and when times are tough again, you will remember him."

To put things another way, when times are good, we become prideful (we forget our need for God). It is often only hard times that can restore us to a state of humility. Casey says it memorably: "Elation ('being high') blocks us from God. Being saved is a matter of our being dragged protestingly from our comfort zone to a wild and howling wilderness in which our only security is the faithfulness of God" (p. 62).


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