Walking through the cloisters of Canterbury Cathedral, praying in the austere, holy place of the Cathedral crypt make me aware of two things. Firstly--the mystery and holiness of God, our High King and Perfect Lord who created everything...yet chose to send His Son as a servant to mankind, desiring a relationship with each of us, as sinful and repulsive as we are. It is at once an encouraging and daunting thought. Secondly--the humility of the men who once lived, prayed, and died within those sacred walls, giving up worldly pride and comfort for a life of quiet and unassuming prayer and meditation.
I am currently waging war against the vast sin of pride in my life, and I find comfort and inspiration in the example set by those mediaeval Benedictines. As another model of mediaeval piety, Saint Augustine of Hippo, wrote, "'Pride is the commencement of all sin' because it was this which overthrew the devil, from whom arose the origin of sin; and afterwards, when his malice and envy pursued man, who was yet standing in his uprightness, it subverted him in the same way in which he himself fell. For the serpent, in fact,only sought for the door of pride whereby to enter when he said, 'Ye shall be as gods.'"
"Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them. But so shall it not be among you: but whoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: and whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many." Mark 10:42-45