Be Open

“Be Open” Sub-Pages:

QuotesPraying It – Basking In It – Digging Deeper – Making It Real

On the Concept of Docility:

The word means, of course, a capacity to learn, to be taught by another. Yet in recent years the idea came upon hard days, for it spoke to many of a passivity, a weakness, a refusal to think for oneself. But then on the scene came a new label: openness, listening. Now openness and listening to others mean nothing if they do not mean exactly what docility means: willingness to be informed, instructed, changed by what another says.

A man in trouble laments that he did not listen to his teachers, and thus he finds himself in a sad state, utter ruin. A candid admission of a blunder is refreshing and not often heard in human affairs. It is the saint alone who is large-minded enough to think and speak in this way. This is part of his authenticity.

The person who is swift to hear and slow to respond is a stranger to an all-knowing illuminism. He believes that others, too, have some truth, and he is willing to be instructed by them. He is ready for the mind of God.

We are to welcome instruction, yes. But this is not enough. We are to welcome correction as well, being told that we are wrong. This is living the virtue of docility.

As the word indicates, docility is the capacity to learn, a willingness to be taught. One is docile when he recognizes his own lack of information and expertise, on the one hand, and the superior knowledge and skills of his teacher, on the other. In this context a synonym more acceptable to modern ears is receptivity.

There are two types of receptivity: one toward the indwelling Spirit and the other toward human teachers. Like other moral virtues, docility lies in a mean between two extremes. One extreme is the more or less arrogant refusal to accept the thoughts of another. The other is an exaggerated credulity that has lost a sense of proper discrimination and healthy criticism. – Fr. Thomas Dubay, Authenticity

The humble listen to their brothers and sisters because they assume they have something to learn. They are open to correction, and they become wiser through it. – Fr. Thomas Dubay, Authenticity

Be Open in a Balanced Way