Respect — Not Ridicule

The tenth degree of humility, which we re-read in today’s section of the Rule of St Benedict, RB 7.59, always seems to cause trouble. Why should we not laugh? Is Benedict really such a sourpuss? The answer, of course, is to be found in an understanding of sixth-century culture. The laughter we are being warned against is the laughter of scorn and derision, the empty cackling of the fool, not the joyful and life-enhancing laughter of those who see the funny side of life.

Before we pass on to something of more consequence, perhaps we should pause for a moment and consider our own conduct. How often do we end up using laughter as a way of dismissing others, substituting ridicule for respect? A gentle tease can easily get out of hand; a snappy retort in social media can do more harm than we realise. No one is suggesting that we should forego spontaneity, but we may need to do a ‘rain check’ every now and then. Cheerfulness and good humour are true blessings. Let’s make the most of them and not hurt others with our insistence on being funny at their expense.

Personal Update
I’m very grateful to be back at the monastery after my latest hospital stay. Thank you for your prayers. The ‘new normal’ is evolving.


9 thoughts on “Respect — Not Ridicule”

  1. Thank you
    So glad you are able to post !
    Yes , often seen the so called teasing and gentle banter contain an underlying malice . Sadly witnessed especially with some couples
    leading me to be concerned about the private torment one partner may be enduring and have unfortunately it has been proved to be the case .
    Yes . Let’s check ourselves and stop to think how our jokey remarks impact another . Good test , how would I feel as the recipient !

  2. I have missed your wise words for the last few weeks. So pleased that you are able to post again for the benefit of your readers.
    Peace be with you.

  3. Thank you for sharing your journey to hospital and recent return. Our Chapter is holding you in prayer and will be very excited and thankful to learn of your ‘new’ normal…may it be a blessing for you!


    Fr. Jerry

  4. So pleased you are busy evolving the new normal, a lovely, positive sign! Thought about you so much, guessed how frustrated and irritated you must be feeling. As Prince Edward said in reference to his father‘s long stay in hospital, there‘s only so often you can count the patterns in the wallpaper! God bless always.

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