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HERE BEGINNETH THE FIFTEENTH CHAPTER


A short proof against their error that say, that there is no perfecter
cause to be meeked under, than is the knowledge of a man's own
wretchedness.


AND trust steadfastly that there is such a perfect meekness as I speak
of, and that it may be come to through grace in this life. And this I
say in confusion of their error, that say that there is no perfecter
cause of meekness than is that which is raised of the remembrance of
our wretchedness and our before done sins.

I grant well, that to them that have been in accustomed sins, as I am
myself and have been, it is the most needful and speedful cause, to be
meeked under the remembrance of our wretchedness and our before?done
sins, ever till the time be that the great rust of sin be in great part
rubbed away, our conscience and our counsel to witness. But to other
that be, as it were, innocents, the which never sinned deadly with an
abiding will and avisement, but through frailty and unknowing, and the
which set them to be contemplatives--and to us both if our counsel and
our conscience witness our lawful amendment in contrition and in
confession, and in making satisfaction after the statute and the
ordinance of all?Holy Church, and thereto if we feel us stirred and
called by grace to be contemplatives also--there is then another cause
to be meeked under .. far above this cause....

For if it so were that there were no perfect cause to be meeked under,
but in seeing and feeling of wretchedness, then would I wit of them
that say so, what cause they be meeked under that never see nor
feel--nor never shall be in them--wretchedness nor stirring of sin:....
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The monk seems to be referring here to what Willliam James would call (500 years later) the "twice-born" and the "once born."  I think that is a distinction that occurs in all religious communities which did not dogmatically dictate some view of universal human nature, either genetic or "fallen."  I think the once and twice born will not read scripture, experience ritual, respond to preaching, or even view God in the same way.  I also think there are mixtures of once and twice "bornness" in most of us.  I consider myself one of the once born; but i am aware of a streak of selfishness that courses wide and deep through my being,  And there is a narrower but deeper yellow streak of fear that runs between the purple of perfection and the whitewashed sepulchre of damnation.  I have also experienced moments of strangeness that could, might, or should have been interpreted as experiences of enlightenmen, sartori, salvation or connecting to the Way.

Or to go to the experience of transformation, i can never remember the experience of being part of a group.  Family, church, friendship, school, and job have almost without exception been experienced as indivuals who had values, worldviews, and idea that i was free to disagree with.  I can never remember the feeling of having to do something because it was a rule or law.  How do i complete the spiritual process of socialization -- individuation -- transformation (being thrice born???) if i have always been an individual, always in my autistic cocoon?  Is autism an asset, a gift of grace, making the cloud of forgetting almost simple, almost automatic?  Is it a detriment, reforcing my natural human selfishness?  Is it neither?  Is it both?

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bobby1933
bobby1933

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