Chapter 4: What Are the Instruments of Good Works, September 21, 2016

January 21, May 22, September 21

Chapter 4: What Are the Instruments of Good Works

62. To fulfill God’s commandments daily in one’s deeds.

63. To love chastity.

64. To hate no one.

65. Not to be jealous, not to harbor envy.

66. Not to love contention.

67. To beware of haughtiness.

68. And to respect the seniors.

69. To love the juniors.

70. To pray for one’s enemies in the love of Christ.

71. To make peace with one’s adversary before the sun sets.

72. And never to despair of God’s mercy.

These, then, are the tools of the spiritual craft.

If we employ them unceasingly day and night,

and return them on the Day of Judgment,

our compensation from the Lord

will be that wage He has promised:

“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,

what God has prepared for those who love Him” (1 Cor. 2:9).

Now the workshop

in which we shall diligently execute all these tasks

is the enclosure of the monastery

and stability in the community.

Some thoughts
 
For some reason, this reading always makes me a little weepy. How wonderful the world would be if we embraced these precepts. Well,I can’t worry about that. I have enough work to do to embrace them in my life. With the aid of the Holy Spirit.
 
Numbers sixty-eight and sixty-nine refer to monks in the community. Some monks have been there longer and are senior to those who have been there a shorter amount of time.
 
“And never to despair of God’s mercy.” So many Christians do. God took away my parents, my husband, my children, my sister. How many times have I heard people blame God for their sorrows. If only we could comprehend that God grieves with us when bad things happen to us.
 
Benedict calls the seventy-two precepts “the tools of the spiritual craft.” If anyone wonders what one needs to do to live a spiritual life, these precepts are the way.
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