Fifteen hundred years ago St. Benedict offered a twelve rung ladder of humility as a guide. For each rung on the ladder, Shawn offered us a set of affirmations as positive practices for the spiritual journey. Let me give three affirmations that are calling to me right now.
I will seek God’s way and not my own. This will take time, but a similar nudge has been pushing at me for a while—seeking God’s way or plan in little things, instead of pushing so hard for what I want or what I think should happen. I anticipate that I might be able to even relax a little if I am serving God’s plan because it WILL happen. I won’t have to scheme and beat my head against the wall. This affirmation has an attraction to it, but I know it will take dedication and grace to live it.
I will live my life as a loved-sinner and see others as the same. At first, I did not like this affirmation. (That was a clue that I should work with it.) During the quiet time following that conference, I looked for a way to try out this affirmation. After a while, it occurred to me to put it together with something I read from Richard Rohr. My adapted saying became “I have nothing to prove and nothing to protect. I am who I am—a beloved-sinner—and that is enough.” I think I can grow into this version.
I will learn to listen before sharing my opinion. Shawn told us about a 96 year old man who told his therapist intern that she was the first person who had ever listened to him. Giving someone my undivided attention, listening with my whole being is something I can do. As we practiced it in groups of three during the last session of the retreat, I experienced the warmth and joy of loving and being loved.
It might be wiser start with just one of these affirmations, but I can’t choose which one, so I am going with all three to see what happens. There are at least 40 more affirmations where these came from, and then another retreat next fall....