(Scripture: Sirach 21:16-20/Rule of Benedict 7.59)
Sorry to have missed yesterday’s post entitled “Keeping it to Yourself” – unplanned but necessary life got in the way. I will try to make up for this by addressing both days today. Today we reach Saint Benedict’s caution about laughing at inappropriate times or at someone else’s expense. This caution is seen as the tenth piece of humility following yesterday’s call for more silence in the world. These are linked for me and speak to stewarding our tongue, although I am still wondering how they link to humility. It takes energy to stay in the present moment, refraining from the easy joke or comment. It takes energy to listen to the other person and try to hear what’s behind words I may not understand. I find that, when in doubt, it is always better to stay silent. People don’t expect to be given the space to speak without being interrupted. It is sometimes uncomfortable to be in the silence, but it reminds me of the prayer process of “lectio divina” – listening in silence that offers space for God’s wisdom to emerge. Now I see – yes, silence and refraining from needless laughter do indeed lead to the development of humility – they point to God’s wisdom and not ours. God is God – I am not.