Humility Rules: Saint Benedict’s 12-Step Guide to Genuine Self-Esteem.
By: J. Augustine Wetta, O.S.B.
St. Benedict’s handbook The Rule is explained for teens and young adults.
Saint Benedict’s fifth-century guide to humility offers the antidote to the epidemic of stress and depression overwhelming modern young adults. But the language of The Rule by Saint Benedict is medieval, and its most passionate advocates are cloistered monks and nuns. How then does this ancient wisdom translate into advice for ordinary people?
With candor, humor, and a unique approach to classical art, Father Augustine, a high school teacher, and coach, breaks down Saint Benedict’s method into twelve pithy steps for finding inner peace in a way that can be applied to anyone’s life.
Drawing upon his own life experiences, both before and after becoming a Benedictine monk, the author explains every step, illustrating each chapter with color reproductions of monastic art that he has embellished with comic flourishes. The winsome combination is sure to keep readers from taking themselves too seriously―which is already a first step on the path to humility.
Parental Thoughts on Humility Rules:
Encouraging children to read books on the writings of the saints is one of the most important things we can do as Catholic parents. Learning about the lives of the saints “sustains hope of believers by proposing the saints to them as models . . .” (Catechism of the Catholic Church para. 828). Using holy people as models is also bible based as St. Paul tells us in Philippians 4:17: “Join with others in being imitators of me, brothers, and observe those who thus conduct themselves according to the model you have in us.”
St. Benedict was the first monk, and he wrote a handbook The Rule on how to live in a community with holiness. Father Augustine Wetta takes the handbook and makes it accessible and understandable for young adults. This book was very enjoyable to read. It is broken up into short chapters on each rule which contains how to live each rule in thought, word, and deed. The stories are humorous and relatable. You can easily sit down and read it in one sitting. I read it twice in one week as I found it that enjoyable to read. However, I wouldn’t recommend reading it in one sitting.
It is like eating. You can open your mouth for food, and you can shove a whole lot of food into your mouth to enjoy the taste, but once you start trying to chew and absorb the nutrients of the food you can’t. You have too much food in your mouth, and you have to spit some out losing the nutrients of that food. I would recommend taking this book in small bites, so you don’t just enjoy the book, but you get nourished from the book. I read this book with my family (husband and two older children ages 12 and 11). We read one chapter a night. Once I stopped, read it slowly, and took a moment to contemplate what these rules are calling me to, I no longer considered it an easy read.
My two oldest children read the chapters very fast, and then they sat there while my husband and I savored each page. We would discuss what we learned as a family, but long after our family discussion my husband and I were still discussing the contents of the book and how it could relate to our lives. My children read as if it was a fiction book: sit down and read solely for enjoyment. They had their mouths opened, and they enjoyed the food, but nourishment? I am hoping that one small mustard seed was planted in their minds and souls that will later grow into something. I firmly believe the author is onto something about genuine self-esteem. It is not the concept of self-esteem about liking oneself, but more about finding inner peace with life and relationships with others and with God. I think many people today need to be told, “IT IS NOT ABOUT YOU!” The author never states this in the book, but it is my interpretation.
I would recommend this book for late high school or early college age. The author teaches high school, so it was probably his target audience.
Here are the chapters from the book:
Step 1: Be afraid – – – Fear of God.
Step 2: Don’t be true to yourself – – – Self-Denial
Step 3: Don’t follow your dreams – – – Obedience
Step 4: Suffer fools gladly – – – Perseverance
Step 5: Put your worst foot forward – – – Repentance
Step 6: Be someone’s doormat – – – Serenity
Step 7: Have a poor self-image – – – Self-Abasement
Step 8: Think inside the box – – – Prudence
Step 9: Don’t speak up – – – Silence
Step 10: Laughter is not the best medicine – – – Dignity
Step 11: Be unassertive – – – Discretion
Step 12: Keep your chin down – – – Reverence
The author Father Augustine Wetta, O.S.B. has a blog where he continues to write about genuine self-esteem: http://benedicteen.blogspot.com/
Amazon: Catechism of the Catholic Church