'What's Humility Got to Do With It?' webinar

April 2, 2019

On March 19, NCR offered its first-ever webinar to a small segment of NCR Forward members. NCR Executive Editor Tom Roberts and Sr. Joan Chittister talked about Joan’s current column series on Benedict of Norcia’s 12 principles of humility.

We have made a recording of the webinar available. If you're not yet an NCR Forward member, please join today for $5 per month.

Please note: As you listen, you may notice some sound blips. We apologize for the technical issues with this recording.

Here are a few highlights from the talk:

When you have a soul and a heart and a vision like this, you come out and tell the rest of us! I think that's the basic charism of the Benedictine life.

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"Up until this time, religious life is one of two things: highly individual and highly ascetic. These are the monks of the desert, and that's a model we have of religious life. It's at it's peak from the 2nd to the 5th century."

"Benedict's spirituality is not death driven. He is not talking to you about how you earn God. And how much fasting you do. How much praying on your knees you do. How many rosaries you say. What he's talking to you is learning to live differently."

"So he writes a whole chapter, the longest chapter in his tiny rule, about Humility. Why? Because he's setting up a way of life that is built on right relationships."

"What's your self knowledge? How much of you have you ever explored? How many mirrors have you looked in and said, 'This is good in me, and I have to give it away.'"

"When I really read the rule in relationship to Vatican II, let alone centuries of change, when I realized: You go to Europe, you will find, in the center of every European town a Benedictine Monastery. Why? Because as these communities proliferated, these litte groups who were living by this very simple little rule, they took their place in society. They became its hospitals, its infirmaries, its judicial system, its agricultural program. They gave order to every community in which they moved."

"It's why I wrote this book: To indicate to people that this is a template for our own lives. This belongs in contemporary society."

"Humility is our only hope for mental health--let alone world peace."

"The most subversive thing that is happening today in the church is reading groups."

“Contemplative people know you take your powerlessness to God for strength. If the church at this moment took this framework of 12 degrees of recovery and put them as a template over every diocese, every conference, every committee, every letter that they write, there’d be a lot of editing that had to be done, there’d be a lot of changes that would have had to be made. But when it was over, we’d have a peace worth having, and we wouldn’t have to apologize for it later.”

“When the laity grows up, the church will grow up.”

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"When you come right down to it, you can't have servant leadership without a clear theology of humility. The more you have, the stronger the group will be, because everybody in the group is safe, everybody is starting from the presence of God, not the power of any secular authority anywhere, and they are starting with an awareness of their own needs as well as their own gifts, and they're starting in concert with one another."

"You don't have to rush up this mountain. Stay there long enough to get the know the mountain a little, because the mountain has a great deal to teach you."

"God is in the darkness as well as the light. There will be blessings that come from this scandal, and one of the blessings is this… When Francis talks about clericalism, you listen closely, because I'm going to tell you something: This is as clericalized as the laity has ever been."

"When adults decide to participate in the church and to require being heard, the church will change."

NCR Forward members will have opportunities to participate in upcoming webinars like this one.

Become a member for $5 per month, and receive additional benefits like a weekly member e-newsletter from NCR editors and reporters.