Not Puffed-Up and Not Crushed

To attribute whatever good one sees in oneself
to God, not to oneself;
but always to clearly acknowledge and
take personal responsibility for the evil one does.
(Rule of Benedict 4.42-43)

Devil

Devil (Photo: Wikipedia)

Even before social psychology, StBenedict understood attribution. These tools protect us against the most common – and natural – attribution error: self-serving bias

The first tool is theological. Humans are made in God’s image; when we do good, we simply make visible the divine spark God place in us. The second tool highlights free will. Don’t say “The Devil made me do it” to StBenedict! He is not promoting guilt and blame, but growth.

The monastic way notices good and gives thanks, acknowledges evil and asks grace

to change. Benedictine‘s self-image should be neither crushed nor inflated, but honest.


Tooling Through Lent is a series of brief reflections on Chapter 4 of the Rule of Benedict, The Tools for Good Works.

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About Sister Edith

Benedictine sister of St. Scholastica Monastery, Duluth, Minnesota
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