Thor & St. Benedict

Our boys have been on the farm for a week with the grandparents along with their cousins. Which ended up being terrible timing because one of my cousins was in a diving accident and was in the hospital with spinal injuries. His parents were on vacation overseas at the time, so my dad was at the hospital. Which left my mother at home with six kids under age nine (and without a vehicle large enough to be bale to go anywhere with them). So I don't think their time on the farm was what they were hoping for.

But it left us with some time alone for the first time in a long time (seriously--I sadly can't remember when our last real date was). We of course had work and meetings and other things going on during this time so we didn't have a lot time together. But I took time on Tuesday to bike (11 miles!) over to Beth's work. We had some time together and went to see an afternoon matinee of Thor (yes, I know the movie was out two months ago, but haven't had time to see a movie for several months and we usually wait until they're at a cheap theater).

Thor is based on a comic book which is based on Norse mythology. Thor is the son of the king of Asgard (a "god" if you will) and in line for the throne. When the time comes, however, his father Odin finds Thor to be too prideful, arogant and full of himself. So Odin strips Thor of his powers (much of which comes from his hammer Mjolnir) and banquishes him to Midgard (earth) until he is worthy of ruling his people.

His hammer, thrown to earth, is stuck in the ground. Like Excalibur, it can only be pulled out by the one worthy of it.

Only once Thor has learned humility is he worthy of his hammer again. It takes him a while, but by learning to care for others, Thor finally gets it. He is even willing to sacrifice his life so that innocents may live.

Right after seeing the movie, we stopped at a grocery store to get som salad ingredients for having supper with friends. While my wife ran into the store, I happened to pick up Joan Chittister's book Wisdom Distilled from the Daily in the car. The chapter I had left off in was on humility as well (sometimes God seems to be none too blunt in getting His message across).

St. Benedict has a lot to say about humility. After all, if you're going to be living in community, humility goes a long way. We sometimes think of humility as a weak trait. Thor showed it isn't. Jesus did the same. Humility is knowing you're no better than anyone else (nor are you the worst). It is remembering that God is always with us--because in doing so we know where we stand. We are a sinner. We are also dearly loved. Everyone else is in the same boat.

Joan Chittister points out, "Humble people walk comfortably in every group. no one is either too beneath the or too above them for their own sense of well being." Through humility we live in reality, knowing our place in the world. And we are also free to love unconditionally, sacrificially knowing that all others deserve to be loved as much as we are.

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