1089_di01089

8 Feb. 9 June. 9 Oct.

The eleventh degree of humility is, that when a monk speaketh, he do so gently and without laughter, humbly, gravely, with few and reasonable words, and that he be not noisy in his speech, as it is written: “A wise man is known by the fewness of his words.”

When Abbot Celestino Maria Colombo (1874–1935) described his vision for Benedictine monks who would prolong the solemn celebration of the Work of God in a silent priestly work of adoration and reparation before the Most Blessed Sacrament, he called them figli dell’Ostia all’Ostia, sons of the Host for the Host. The silence of the Host is an infinite mystery: it expresses all that Saint John discloses in his Prologue, and all that he says at the end of his Gospel:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (John 1:1)

But there are also many other things which Jesus did; which, if they were written every one, the world itself, I think, would not be able to contain the books that should be written. (John 21:25)

One cannot partake of the flesh of the Lamb without tasting something of the silence of the Lamb. One who has tasted the silence of the Lamb and, then, tarried in the silence of the Host will, almost imperceptibly, begin to bear the imprint of that silence within him.Thus does the monk begin to resemble the Servant whose portrait Isaias gives in a veiled way:

He shall not cry, nor have respect to person, neither shall his voice be heard abroad. (Isaias 42:2)

Our Lord’s describes Himself in words that fulfil the prophecy of Isaias:

Come to me, all you that labor, and are burdened, and I will refresh you. Take up my yoke upon you, and learn of me, because I am meek, and humble of heart: and you shall find rest to your souls. For my yoke is sweet and my burden light. (Matthew 11:28–30)

The eleventh degree of humility is the next–to–last touch on the likeness of Christ in a monk. It brings a monk closer to the silence of Jesus in His Passion and in the Sacred Host:

Jesus autem tacebat.
Jesus was silent. (Matthew 26:63)