Prologue of the Rule of St Benedict, September 3, 2016

January 3, May 4, September 3


And the Lord, seeking his laborer

in the multitude to whom He thus cries out,

says again,

“Who is the one who will have life,

and desires to see good days” (Ps. 33[34]:13)?

And if, hearing Him, you answer,

“I am the one,”

God says to you,

“If you will have true and everlasting life,

keep your tongue from evil

and your lips that they speak no guile.

Turn away from evil and do good;

seek after peace and pursue it” (Ps. 33[34]:14-15).

And when you have done these things,

My eyes shall be upon you

and My ears open to your prayers;

and before you call upon Me,

I will say to you,

‘Behold, here I am'” (Ps. 33[34]:16; Is. 65:24; 58:9).

What can be sweeter to us, dear ones,

than this voice of the Lord inviting us?

Behold, in His loving kindness

the Lord shows us the way of life.

Some thoughts:

How many times has Father Benedict quoted from Ps 34 so far? It is

crucial to him that we understand how important is the question “Do

you want eternal life with all your heart and soul?” No less crucial

is the only response he would have us make, “I do.”

The next questions are:

How does one get it? What practical things can we do?

Must there be changes in our behaviors and the attitudes that under

gird the behaviors?

How do we do this on a daily basis?”

How do we respond to the Lord’s presence among us? To the empowering

of the Holy Spirit to turn us toward holy living?

Here we are in Ps 34 again and In 58. Benedict may presuppose that

his monastics have these memorized, and so he believes that mention of

a few words from each will recall the whole to mind, but I fear I must

look in my Bible.

Ps 34 begins: “I will bless the Lord at all times.” Is this, I

wonder, where it all begins? Is this where desire for God comes from?

We bless the Lord and as we do, we experience a greater desire for


How have these passages from the Rule affected you? Are you called to

take your own life so seriously enough to offer it to God? We can

make this offering in whatever circumstances we find ourselves. We

don’t have to withdraw from the world into the cloister. God can take

our lives right here out in the open, in the middle of whatever it is

we do and are.

Can you hear how much God wants you? Can you hear how much God wants

you within your life as it is at this moment? Can you hear how much

God wants you right now in whatever circumstances you may be in?

Here is the very crux of the matter, the heart of faith, the entire reason for the Christian life and the Rule.

God calls. Human beings are called. The stuff of life is our response.

Is there anything more important to any one of us than God’s call to

us to be in a loving relationship with Him? If so, what is it? Why is

it more important to you than God? Benedict, of course, presupposes

that our response to God is to accept his invitation, that we have

found nothing sweeter, better in life than God. Seems to me we could

all stand to examine ourselves to see if this is also true of us.


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