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 eleventh step of humility is that a monk speaks gently, with modesty, briefly and reasonably without raising their voice. ~ The Rule of Benedict
Speak concisely, say much in few words; be one who knows and yet holds their tongue. ~ Sirach 32:8
Healthy communication within a community is vital. Benedict thought it was so important that he devoted three of his 12 Steps of Humility to communication.
In Humility Step 9Benedict advises us to actually listen more than we speak. Step 10 cautions us against making jokes at the expense of others feelings.
Now in Humility Step 11 Benedict describes the appropriate way that we should converse with others. We are to be generous and sincere in our listening. And when it’s our time to speak we are to brief and gentle with our words, not loud or boisterous.
This is definitely unlike our modern culture where people are blasting out opinions while ignoring anything that goes against their thoughts. Certainly not the kind of behavior that can build community. Rarely do we see actual conversation that allows both sides to gently share their views while listening kindly in return.
Participation in a community requires that we speak and also that we listen. In speech we must be candid, in listening we must be accessible. ~John McQuiston II
The one thing I find most appealing about Saint Benedict and his 12 Steps of Humility is that they are practical for use in any environment. They are timeless tools for running the home, office or a community of any size.
While speaking modestly comes naturally to some, it’s often more common among those who have gained some wisdom with years of life behind them. Elders are are usually more sparing with words than young people.
We can’t expect the youth to come by this virtue so quickly, but by walking in Benedict’s example we can help them put these lessons into practice.
Enjoy this sweet song sung by Casting Crowns helping us have a humble heart of praise that God will listen to.
MY RECOVERY WORK THIS YEAR IS FOCUSED ON THE PRINCIPLES BEHIND THE 12 STEPS. WE’RE ASKING KEY QUESTIONS THAT WILL HELP US LEARN THESE CORE VALUES SO WE CAN PUT THEM INTO PRACTICE.
STEP ELEVEN: Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out. PRINCIPLE ELEVEN: Meaning
KEY QUESTION: What is the purpose of my life?
These days life seems to be so complicated and stressful. One day I think I have my purpose and meaning figured out, then something happens and I’m confused all over again.
Life is full of loose ends, uncertainty, confusion and frustration. Yet nothing is wasted or random or pointless. Everything that happens is nourishing compost for our spiritual and emotional growth. It is in the midst of the messiness of life that we often find meaning or, sometimes, that meaning finds us. ~ Patrick Carnes*
In a life of recovery we must learn to accept the bad with the good. If we can find our anchor in God and the beautiful things in life, we will find it easier to be less reactive when struggles come. We can find meaning in our life by reflecting on times when we felt most affirmed and valued. The challenge here is recognizing these feelings and their situations. There may have been times when we were being affirmed but were unaware. A daily spiritual practice is vitally important. By starting or ending our day with a meditative/prayerful time of reflection. In the morning we can start by setting our intentions for the day. In the evening we examine how caring, loving or supportive we were this particular day. When we find an activity or person that brought us special meaning this will show us where we may want to devote more time in the future. In doing this we will discover what gives us value and purpose in our life. What gives our life meaning today may not give us meaning tomorrow. But when we look at the core values of some activities or situations we may find a common denominator that can bring more clarity. When life seems to be going at lightning speed and we covered in stress dust that’s the time to stop and notice what made us happy yesterday. When we do, we can see God balances our life messes and challenges with sweetness and beauty.
In those sweet beautiful times we’ll find our life purpose and meaning.
RESOURCES: A Gentle Path through the Twelve Principles: Living the Values Behind the Steps by Patrick Carnes* Image credit: pixelsaway / 123RF Stock Photo
For the last several months I have been using Phyllis Tickle’s prayer book series. I purchased the entire set which includes prayer books for each season of the year, along with a book of Night Offices. I started with Prayers for Springtime and have now moved to Prayers for Summertime.
If you are unfamiliar with Phyllis Tickle you will find her a prolific writer with dozens of books to her name. She is the founding editor of the Religion Department of Publishers Weekly and has been a muchsought after speaker on religion in America.
In The Divine Hours Ms. Tickle makes primary use of The Book of Common Prayer, the writings of the Church Fathers and takes Scripture readings from the New Jerusalem Bible. Each book is divided into specific time categories: Morning, Mid-day, Evening and Night and is easy to navigate to find today’s reading.
As a recovering addict it’s critical that I keep my prayer routine on track and The Divine Hoursseries has been most helpful in this area. Although I have several prayer books and iPhone apps, I really enjoy Phyllis Tickle’s books and use them regularly.
If you are looking for a way to freshen your prayer and praise routine while participating in the ancient practice of the liturgy, I highly recommend The Divine Hours by Phyllis Tickle.
IN THE ROAD TO RECOVERYCOLUMN WE ARE WORKING THE EIGHT PRINCIPLES OFCELEBRATE RECOVERYwhich are BASED ON THE BEATITUDES, ALONG WITH THE TRADITIONAL 12 STEPS OF RECOVERY AS THEY ALIGN WITH THE YEARLY CALENDAR.
…continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling,for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.~ Philippians 2:13 NIV
Step 11: We sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and power to carry that out.
Principle 7 (Celebrate Recovery): Reserve a daily time with God for self-examination, Bible reading, and prayer in order to know God and His will for my life and to gain the power to follow His will.
At this stage of our journey we are growing stronger every day with God. By taking time each morning, or perhaps throughout the day, to sit with Scripture, to be quiet in prayer and mediation, listening for that still small voice to bring us guidance.
As we grow in confidence and faith it becomes easier to walk in God’s will.But make no mistake, we cannot do it alone. The moment we take our eyes of The Source of our strength we set ourselves up for a fall.
The verse I chose for this week is one very close to my heart.It is one my husband and I pray over ourselves and our family regularly. Without God working in us we can’t even begin to know what His will is, nor have the ability to walk it out.
All God is asking is that we be willing and available to let Him work. Then He will show us His will so then hopefully we might bring Him pleasure from our lives.
Success requires us to be intentional and committed minute by minute. This can only be done prayerfully with the power of the Holy Spirit working in our lives.
JOIN THE CONVERSATION: What is your mediation/prayer routine like?
If you can’t see the video screen below Click Here for our Road to Recovery theme song for prayer.
We sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.And He who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. ~ Romans 8:26-27
By working the Twelve Step process we are gradually learning what we want to achieve. To protect what we have learned, we must continually seek God’s will for our lives. Through a regular practice of prayer and mediation the burden of our painful past is released in daily increments.
Prayer and meditation are difficult for some. Whether we’ve experienced toxic faith in our family or religious circles or grown up unfamiliar with the practices, it’s good to begin with baby steps. Let’s start by breaking down Step 11 into three parts so that we can understand what’s required of us in this step.
What is Prayer?Prayer is talking with God about what His will is for my life.
What is Meditation? Quietly listening and focusing on the Power of God inside me.
What is Conscious Contact? Making myself aware of God’s presence with me.
By declaring our spiritual poverty before God through listening prayer we invite His grace into our lives. Trust begins with a childlike attitude; we stop trying to figure things out and become receptive to God’s kingdom–His rulership and will. It is here when we are truly listening to God.
With a quieted mind and spirit the promised knowledge and power become available. As we stop giving directions and start listening for God’s will our relationship with Him grows deeper. We can then receive His wisdom, peace and love. The courage to carry out His will becomes stronger with each step we take.
Putting Step 11 into practice. First find a quiet, undisturbed place where you can have some prayerful meditation. Choose one of the suggested prayers below. Begin the meditation music video I have selected. Repeat your prayer slowly as you fall into your Heavenly Father’s arms. Soak up His presence and listen for His still soft voice.
Prayers of Meditation The Jesus Prayer:Lord, Jesus Christ, have mercy on me. Words of Praise: Praise you, Lord Jesus. Words of Thanksgiving: Thank you, Lord Jesus.
Let’s plug into our power source for guidance, serenity and healing by drawing near to God in prayer and meditation.
The Fantasy Fallacy:
Exposing the Deeper Meaning Behind Sexual Thoughts
by Shannon Ethridge
As a recovering sex addict who struggled with fantasy for most of my life, I couldn’t be more excited about this book. If you have challenges in this area there’s freedom to be found!
Virtues ~n~ Vices :: MODESTY
We don’t hear much about modesty today, though it is much needed. Do we even know what modesty looks like? Let’s learn the meaning of modesty and how to walk it out daily.
Healing Hurts :: SEX ADDICTION
What sounds like a lot of fun to the world is in reality a desperate, lonely, and painful life to live. I know because I lived most of my life this way. Do you struggle with sexual addiction? Let’s get to the root of the problem and find true freedom!
Look for a New Article Every Wednesday in November on Reaching Hurting Women!