Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Rule of St Benedict Reading for September 1, 2009

January 1, May 2, September 1


I S T E N carefully, my child,
to your master's precepts,
and incline the ear of your heart (Prov. 4:20).
Receive willingly and carry out effectively
your loving father's advice,
that by the labor of obedience
you may return to Him
from whom you had departed by the sloth of disobedience.

To you, therefore, my words are now addressed,
whoever you may be,
who are renouncing your own will
to do battle under the Lord Christ, the true King,
and are taking up the strong, bright weapons of obedience.

And first of all,
whatever good work you begin to do,
beg of Him with most earnest prayer to perfect it,
that He who has now deigned to count us among His children
may not at any time be grieved by our evil deeds.
For we must always so serve Him
with the good things He has given us,
that He will never as an angry Father disinherit His children,
nor ever as a dread Lord, provoked by our evil actions,
deliver us to everlasting punishment
as wicked servants who would not follow Him to glory.

Some thoughts:

"Listen carefully," St. Benedict says. Although he wrote a rule for monks, monks are not the only ones who benefit from it., Nuns, lay folk, priests have all adapted the RB to their vocations. As I have myself.

St. Benedict had a lot of common sense, as has been noted by more than one person over the centuries. There is something about common sense that is simply timeless, would you agree. Benedict knew his audience: ordinary people. In one of the later chapters, Benedict has the RB read to novices 3 times and ion ch 66 he says that the Rule is to be read often. He realized that we need to be reminded over and over again. No matter how closely we pay attention, the message has to be repeated over and over again. We don't achieve perfection by reading the RB once. Nor, for that matter, will perfection be ours even by practicing the RB our whole lives. Benedict will be the first to admit that no one is perfect. He wrote a Rule for imperfect people such as you and I, Gentle Reader.

Maybe more of us would give the religious life a try if they didn't believe that the had to be exceptionally holy people. Which they don't have to be. Nor will the religious life necessarily make one exceptionally holy. All that is requires, as if required of any Christian, that we keep trying to improve our lives.

This is what St Benedict teaches us. He teaches us to be practical, moderate, steadfast through sharing his common sense with us. He wants all of us to love the liturgy, to pray the psalms and meditate on Scripture, to see Christ in all to who we welcome into our churches and our homes, to take good care of the property we own, to take good care of our bodily as well as spiritual needs, to be kind and helpful to one another.



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