Saturday, May 16, 2009

Rule of St Benedict Reading for May 16, 2009

January 15, May 16, September 15

Chapter 2: What Kind of Person the Abbess Ought to Be

Above all let her not neglect or undervalue
the welfare of the souls committed to her,
in a greater concern for fleeting, earthly, perishable things;
but let her always bear in mind
that she has undertaken the government of souls
and that she will have to give an account of them.

And if she be tempted to allege a lack of earthly means,
let her remember what is written:
"First seek the kingdom of God and His justice,
and all these things shall be given you besides" (Ps. 33:10).
And again:
"Nothing is wanting to those who fear Him."

Let her know, then,
that she who has undertaken the government of souls
must prepare herself to render an account of them.
Whatever number of sisters she knows she has under her care,
she may be sure beyond doubt that on Judgment Day
she will have to give the Lord an account of all these souls,
as well as of her own soul.

Thus the constant apprehension
about her coming examination as shepherd (Ezech. 34)
concerning the sheep entrusted to her,
and her anxiety over the account that must be given for others,
make her careful of her own record.
And while by her admonitions she is helping others to amend,
she herself is cleansed of her faults.

Some thoughts

This passage of the RB has always struck me as a catch basin where
Benedict has jotted down lots of thoughts. I am not going to comment
on all of them.

Within 50 years of Benedict's death, Pope Gregory in his _Pastoral
Care_ will write that art of guiding souls is the art that surpasses
all others. I've often hoped that meant he had read Benedict's Rule.

Some with whom I have discussed the RB have lamented that Benedict did
not detail how to guide souls. My response was that IMO the entire RB
is just that. I also think one learns to guide souls by being guided
one's self.

But most of all, spiritual direction is a spiritual gift. Not every
Christian has this gift but every Christian can benefit from it.
There are some forms of spiritual direction which we all receive:
Mass; Sacraments; sermons; books, to name just a few. Some of us
might have a formal relationship with spiritual director. But when we
get right down to the nitty gritty of living the Christian life, there
is nothing the Holy Spirit cannot use to shape us if we are willing to
see, hear, listen.

What are some forms of spiritual direction members of this list have


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