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It is not in time that my death shall be known; It is out of time that my decision is taken If you call that decision To which my whole being gives entire consent. We are not here to triumph by fighting, by stratagem, or by resistance, Not to fight with beasts as men. We come at last to the feast of the Incarnation, the brilliant night of the Godhead’s triumphal entry into creation.

I give my life To the Law of God above the Law of Man. But the mysteries here are too vast and too bright for our untrained eyes. Philip knew that “The only wisdom we can hope to acquire/Is the wisdom of humility: humility is endless” ( II). Philip, humility found its greatest expression in “loving to be unknown.” In a certain sense, this fact hardly strikes us as noteworthy. To better grasp his singular path of perfection, it would behoove us to turn briefly to other saints first. Benedict makes perfection in humility a physical, and even visible, matter.

So, too, is he invisibly bound to the conception and birth of the God-Man.

His own deeply domestic spirituality drew its core of humble charity from the life of the Holy Family in Bethlehem. Joseph, the all-meek Virgin, the wakeful and overawed shepherds. God has entered the world in darkness and obscurity, that He might commune more profoundly with those few quiet souls.

As one eminent and trustworthy commentator has it, “The bowed head of the crucified Jesus, and of the monk in whom the Holy Ghost reproduces the image of His death, signifies a total adhesion to the will of the Father.” The monk’s humility is cruciform, stained by the Precious Blood as it flows freely from the holy wound in Christ’s side. He was often withdrawing for times of recollection and prayer.