The author of Humility Rules (Ignatius Press, 130pp, £13), Fr Augustine Wetta, a Benedictine monk at St Louis Abbey in the US, has written a wise, humorous and self-deprecating book based on St Benedict’s classic Rule, which he describes as “a little-known but highly effective 12-step programme”.

For St Benedict, genuine self-esteem, in contrast to the modern cult of self-realisation, simply means self-abandonment to God. Starting each chapter with a quotation from the Rule, Wetta explains how to live out the true meaning of fear of God, self-denial, obedience, perseverance, repentance, serenity, prudence, discretion and reverence.

Each chapter ends with “Homework”, such as “Secretly do someone else’s chores” or “Spend an entire day without correcting anyone”. Wetta’s final direction is “Give this book away.” That is easily done: it makes a delightful present, not least because of the artwork, which has been “created by the author using art found on the internet”.

In other words, he has taken famous Old Master paintings of holy people, especially monks, and tweaked them so that they are seen riding motorbikes, skateboards and so on. Is this schoolboy humour? Or a reminder that true humility means being light-hearted, no longer weighed down by the ego and its heavy existential problems?


Susan Tassone has written many books on devotion to the Holy Souls as well as on St Faustina’s personal revelations of the Divine Mercy, now universally celebrated on the Sunday after Easter. In St Faustina Prayer Book for Adoration (Our Sunday Visitor, 168pp, £13), she draws attention to the Polish saint’s love of adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.

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