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Let him consider that he is always beheld from heaven by God, and that his actions are everywhere seen by the eye of the Divine Majesty, and are every hour reported to Him by His angels. This the prophet telleth us, when he sheweth how God is ever present in our thoughts, saying: “God searcheth the heart and the reins.” And again “The Lord knoweth the thoughts of men.” And he also saith: “Thou hast understood my thoughts afar off”; and “The thought of man shall confess to Thee.” In order, therefore, that he may be on his guard against evil thoughts, let the humble brother say ever in his heart: “Then shall I be unspotted before Him, if I shall have kept me from mine iniquity.”
One cannot read this section of the First Degree of Humility without referring to Psalm 138, which Psalm we pray every Thursday at Vespers. Saint Benedict quotes but one verse of the Psalm, but the Psalm in its entirety pervades all that he says here. Monsignor Knox renders this familiar Psalm with a compelling freshness of expression: