Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Midweek Meditation: "Bernard's 12 Steps of Spiritual Demise"

What does it mean to love one's neighbour? It means knowing what it is, and what it is not. For this week and the next, we will be reflecting on St Bernard of Clairvaux's steps of spiritual demise and steps of spiritual progress. This week, we look at how one's spiritual demise leads to contempt for neighbour, contempt for one's superiors, and finally contempt for God.

Loss of love for neighbour

Step 1 - Curiosity
Step 2 - Light-mindedness
Step 3 - Foolish Merriment
Step 4 - Boasting
Step 5 - Trying to be Different
Step 6 - Arrogance

Contempt for one's superiors

Step 7 - Presumption
Step 8 - Self-Justification
Step 9 - Insincere Confession
Step 10 - Rebellion

Contempt for God

Step 11 - Feeling free to sin and creating habitual patterns of sin
Step 12 - Showing Utter Disregard for the Ten Commandments.

(adapted from Richard Foster and Gayle Beebe's excellent work, Longing for God, IVP, 2009, p36)

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