In observance of my Benedictine Monastic practices, on the last Friday of each month in 2019 we’re walking Saint Benedict’s 12 Steps of Humility. With each step we come closer to our spiritual transformation and the perfect love of God.
The ninth step of humility is that a monk restrains their speech, not speaking until an answer is required. ~ The Rule of Benedict
Too much talk leads to sin. Be sensible and keep your mouth shut. ~ Proverbs 10:19 (The Message)
1500 hundred years ago Benedict of Nursia wrote his rule for the small group of monks who resided with him about 80 miles south of Rome in a monastery called Monte Cassino. Quite unlike our modern life today, these monks lived extremely simple lives that revolved around worship, work and study.
In those days the monk’s primary focus was spending contemplative time with God while also performing their daily duties. But they had one challenge: other people were around all the time. So Benedict wrote these rules to manage their community life and all things that entailed.
This particular step of humility is usually directed at our need to be quiet and respectful around others. But it could just as easily be applied to our relationship to our Heavenly Father.
Like me, I’m sure when you’re trying to have a time of contemplation with God, there seems to always come an interruption of some sort… whether it’s the internal monkey-mind chattering away or a physical distraction that occurs.
“To listen closely, with every fiber of our being, at every moment of the day, is one of the most difficult things in the world, and yet it is essential if we mean to find the God whom we are seeking.” ~ Esther de Waal
Like most people when we’re trying to communicate with someone, we expect them to have proper manners, to restrain their speech, give us their eyes and listen. God isn’t any different. He wants our undivided attention when He’s trying to speak to us. However, we rarely give Him the respect due Him… to stop rambling on about our needs and wants, close our mouth, be still and listen.
I don’t know about you, but I really struggle in this area. I’m often too quick to speak and too slow to listen when it comes to my conversations with others and especially in my devotional time with God.
Take a few moments to practice the art of contemplative listening to God with this great song by Chris McClarney below:
“I don’t wanna miss one word You speak
Cause everything You say is life to me
I don’t wanna miss one word You speak
Quiet my heart, I’m listening…” ~Chris McClarney