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Studying the Benedictine Value of Justice with Saint Benedict’s 12 Antidotes for Entitlement

Br. Lucian Lopez, OSB

Campus Ministry Director Br. Lucian Lopez, OSB shares a portion of a student discussion about Saint Benedict’s 12 Antidotes for Entitlement.


This semester, as a community, we are exploring the Benedictine value of Justice. As we learn about justice, we are also studying pride. Pride and humility are often used interchangeably so pride doesn’t always mean the same as it did when Saint Benedict wrote the Rule of Benedict in the 6th century. If we change the word ‘pride’ to the modern term of ‘entitlement,’ we can illuminate what Saint Benedict was referring to as he discussed pride in communal living. In this sense we can look at Saint Benedict’s 12 steps for humility (Rule of Benedict Ch. 7) as 12 antidotes for entitlement.

Here’s a look at the 12 steps of humility (or Saint Benedict’s 12 antidotes for entitlement) we talked about during this week’s prayer service.

1)    When you think you’re so great, look at God (or just look at the sun and remember the world doesn’t revolve around you!)

2)    Practice being comfortable not always getting your way.

3)    Be obedient when you are supposed to. Be loyal to your duty.

4)    Never give up, even when things are tough, but push through. That’s how you feel good about yourself!

5)    Be transparent. If you are honest about what you’ve done, there’s no room for deception (and let’s be honest, entitlement is a deception!)

6)    Be confident enough to take the last seat, or the lowest place now and then. You can handle it (which actually also makes you feel good about yourself to be generous to others!)

7)    Meditate on your truth – you are not the center of the universe, but you have God dwelling in your soul. That’s pretty cool!

8)    Don’t bite off more than you can chew. (Know your limits, every resolution you don’t carry out just haunts you.)

9)    Know when to be silent – let other people speak, especially those who rarely have a voice.

10) Benedict literally says to watch what you are laughing at, just in case you may be fueling the cruelty of a bully. A sign of entitlement is to laugh at others’ misfortune.

11) Never try to sell yourself. If people are interested, then they see something in you. You never need to trick anyone into liking or loving you.

12) Be actually humble and not just out of appearances. If you are pretending to be humble that is actually vainglory and the opposite of humility. The only way to look humble is to be humble. Acting humble is just annoying to everyone around you, kind of passive aggressive, and you aren’t fooling anyone.