Modern psychology, in particular, favors independence over dependence, confidence over feelings of inferiority, avoidance of pain, and strong will. The Rule says just the opposite: submit to authority, feel you inferiority, embrace suffering, and have no will of your own. How can anyone live this rule and enjoy emotional health?
The Rule makes it clear that familiar modern values come from a purely secular frame of Mind. As [Lutheran theologian] Rudolf Otto says in his classic definition, religion is fundamentally a sense of awe. It is based on an awareness that we are indeed quite small in the scope of things. If we want to live a less secular life, one that includes religious virtues, as well as secular prudence, then we may have to discover the implications of this existential humility.
-p.xxi, from Thomas Moore’s introduction to the Rule of St. Benedict
That phrase – FEEL your inferiority. Good grief, have your ever heard anyone give you that advice? In our world of self-esteem anthems and trigger warnings you’ll only hear the opposite at all costs. Even from the pulpit you are more likely to hear that “God has a wonderful plan for your life” than anything that might acknowledge your low-ness. But we only need Jesus when we are broken. The gospel is only good news to those who have been brought low. Pretending you are high or respectable before is a false place to begin.