Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Excerpt from the Rule of St. Benedict

I happened to take note of the interesting conclusion to the Rule of St. Benedict - which seems to sort of serve as the constitution (as it were) of the Benedictine order. It is attributed to Benedict of Nursia (circa A.D. 480-547). Like other fathers of the day, it exalts the teachings of the fathers, but gives the highest place to Scriptures.


Of This, that Not the Whole Observance of Righteousness Is Laid Down in this Rule

Now, we have written this Rule that, observing it in monasteries, we may show that we have acquired at least some moral righteousness, or a beginning of the monastic life.

On the other hand, he that hasteneth on to the perfection of the religious life, hath at hand the teachings of the holy Fathers, the observance of which leadeth a man to the height of perfection. For what page or what utterance of the divinely inspired books of the Old and the New Testament is not a most exact rule of human life? Or, what book of the holy Catholic Fathers doth not loudly proclaim how we may go straight to our Creator? So, too, the collations of the Fathers, and their institutes and lives, and the rule of our holy Father, Basil -- what are they but the monuments of the virtues of exemplary and obedient monks? But for us slothful, disedifying, and negligent monks they are a source for shame and confusion.

Thou, therefore, who hastenest to the heavenly home, with the help of Christ fulfil this least rule written for a beginning; and then thou shalt with God's help attain at last to the greater heights of knowledge and virtue which we have mentioned above.
(bold emphasis added) This is from the 1949 Edition of the translation by Boniface Verheyen, OSB.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

In the quote:

"....what are they but the monuments of the virtues of exemplary and obedient monks? But for us slothful, disedifying, and negligent monks they are a source for shame and confusion."

Yes indeed, let it be known that with mankind there is only shame and confusion.

The strife for obedient is where it falls apart.

When I read verses such as these:

Rom 1:5 through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations,

and the capstone for it here:

Rom 16:26 but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith--
Rom 16:27 to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen.

I use to believe I was being asked to be obedient.

As time has come and gone and I have been taught by the Holy Ghost and His mentors, humans He has brought into my wretched life, I have come to realize that the only Savior for fulfilling those verses is Christ.

Where the wheels fall off the cart, obviously, is with the strife for obedience and the ugly fact and reality that no man has been "commissioned" to live Christ's Life for Him. He, Christ, rather has been sent to "live" the Life we cannot live, for us! Hence, He is the Savior, the sole representative of the Father's Good Pleasure and the Holy Ghost's Will and Purpose with man, His Elect.

I was struck by this question Jesus asked repeatedly several times in the Gospel:

Mat 9:28 When he entered the house, the blind men came to him, and Jesus said to them, "Do you believe that I am able to do this?" They said to him, "Yes, Lord."

The reality is this, "no one can believe until the Father gives that one the gift of His Faith to believe". The error then, it seems to me to be the strife for obedience, the shift from "what God does" by giving us His Faith to believe, to believing "I can do it"!

No I cannot. That is why I need a Savior.

Not by works, but by His Grace and Mercy I shall receive Peace!