A Benedictine nun writes,
The end of Benedictine spirituality is to develop a transparent personality. Dissimulation, half answers, vindictive attitudes, a false presentation of self are all barbs in the soul of the monastic.
This is especially important in our commercialized, plastic, artificial society. Everywhere we look we are surrounded with fakery, phoniness and falsehood.
It is as if America has become one gigantic Disneyland. Men and women who should know better have plastic surgery and end up with just that: a plastic face, plastic breasts, plastic teeth, plastic everything.
Our “retail centers” are like a theme park of fake experiences. Here you can have the Italian experience in a restaurant that looks like a Tuscan villa. There you can eat in a fake Mexican hacienda. Here you can eat Mediterranean cuisine in a building that has been made to look like a Turkish bordello.
Benedict calls us instead to an authenticity of experience rooted in a centuries old tradition of prayer, work and study. This requires concentration, hard work, attentiveness and obedience.
The result is to be ourselves and nothing else, and in this is true humility.
Humility is not a false piety or an artificial religiosity. It is not going to live in a small house in the bad part of town and then showing off about it.
Humility is to become who we were created to be.
As the old Shaker hymn teaches, “Tis a gift to be simple, tis a gift to be free, tis a gift to come down where we ought to be.”