Tuesday, April 8, 2008

30. Be defined and bound by God, not people.

Good evening, sisters,

This is the second-to-last "empty" day, so I'll leave it to you to discuss this Maxim. I think it's so interesting the way they are connected -- this one reminds me of the one about comparing yourself to others, and the one about avoiding unnecessary attention. Once again, we are reminded to put our focus on God, not others, and certainly not on ourselves.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dear sisters, this is a beautiful and profound maxim. It reminds me of the injunction not to judge others or ourselves. Because we always judge by human standards: the way one looks, the skills one has, the ability one has to cope with circumstances set up by us, the standards (made by us) that one fails to meet. God has made each one of us infinitely unique and infinitely beautiful -- we are the endless variety of His image. And to judge and bind God's image with human standards is not simply wrong, it is impossible and contrary to nature. It will produce error, illness, and suffering.

To define is to bind, and to bind is to produce judgment. When we say, "He is a bad teacher" or "She is a good cook" or "I'm a poor athlete," we produce definitions based on standards we know and understand, and with those definitions we administer judgments. Then we say to ourselves, "I wish I was a good typist" or "I am a really good driver," and we become bound to our own standards and imperfections -- as we desperately strive to fulfill them. But how can we all perfectly fit into the small number of social roles created and expected by our family, society, and culture?

Therefore, let us be the image of God and not the product of a limited and limiting human structure.

The Forty Maxims

  • 1. Be always with Christ and trust God in everything.
  • 2. Pray, fast and do acts of mercy.
  • 3. Read the Scriptures regularly.
  • 4. Read good books, a little at a time.
  • 5. Practice silence, inner and outer.
  • 6. Cultivate communion with the saints.
  • 7. Be an ordinary person, one of the human race.
  • 8. Live a day, even a part of a day, at a time.
  • 9. Be honest, first of all with yourself.
  • 10. Be faithful in little things.
  • 11. Do your work, then forget it.
  • 12. Do the most difficult and painful things first.
  • 13. Face reality.
  • 14. Be grateful.
  • 15. Be cheerful.
  • 16. Be simple, hidden, quiet and small.
  • 17. Never bring unnecessary attention to yourself.
  • 18. Listen when people talk to you.
  • 19. Be awake and attentive, fully present where you are.
  • 20. Think and talk about things no more than necessary.
  • 21. Speak simply, clearly, firmly, directly.
  • 22. Flee imagination, fantasy, analysis.
  • 23. Flee carnal things at their first appearance.
  • 24. Don’t complain, grumble, murmur or whine.
  • 25. Don’t seek or expect pity or praise.
  • 26. Don’t compare yourself with anyone.
  • 27. Don’t judge anyone for anything.
  • 28. Don’t try to convince anyone of anything.
  • 29. Don’t defend or justify yourself.
  • 30. Be defined and bound by God, not people.
  • 31. Accept criticism gracefully and test it carefully.
  • 32. Give advice only when asked or when it is your duty.
  • 33. Be strict with yourself.
  • 34. Be merciful with yourself and others.
  • 35. Do nothing for people that they can do for themselves.
  • 36. Have a healthy, wholesome hobby.
  • 37. Have no expectations except to be fiercely tempted to your last breath.
  • 38. Endure the trial of yourself and your faults serenely, under God’s mercy.
  • 39. When you fall, get up immediately and start over.
  • 40. Get help when you need it, without fear or shame.