31 December 2009

Rule Of Benedict, January 1, May 2, September 1

Three times a year Benedictines read through the rule of St Benedict and tomorrow we begin anew. The tone is patient, the advice wise and measured. It is a good way to begin the new calendar year (and for me it is wonderful that the third time through begins again on my own birthday). In every way I get the impression that it is fine to begin anew. On a holiday when people are formulating resolutions, this passage from the prologue to Benedict's Rule strikes just the right note I think --- not only for our own spirituality, but for the world which so badly needs us to be what Saint Benedict describes.

January 1, May 2, September 1


L 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.