Rule of St. Benedict: Chapter 72: On the Good Zeal Which They Ought to Have, April 30, 2017

April 30, August 30, December 30
Chapter 72: On the Good Zeal Which They Ought to Have

Just as there is an evil zeal of bitterness
which separates from God and leads to hell,
so there is a good zeal
which separates from vices and leads to God
and to life everlasting.
This zeal, therefore, the sisters should practice
with the most fervent love.
Thus they should anticipate one another in honor (Rom. 12:10);
most patiently endure one another’s infirmities,
whether of body or of character;
vie in paying obedience one to another —
no one following what she considers useful for herself,
but rather what benefits another;
tender the charity of sisterhood chastely;
fear God in love;
love their Abbess with a sincere and humble charity;
prefer nothing whatever to Christ.
And may He bring us all together to life everlasting!

 

Some thoughts:
 
In a world which seems to delight in looking for what is wrong, it is refreshing to me to read this today as it concentrates on looking for and doing what is right.
 
I had a house guest once. Picked her up at the airport at 4 PM and by 6 PM she had already had enough of San Diego drivers who won’t signal their intentions, cut us off etc. It was instructive to get a fresh viewpoint on what I have come to take for granted. But it really was looking at what is done wrong. It is hard to avoid this. What does Benedict suggest we do instead?
 
What is “good zeal”? What does it look like? How do we practice it? I daresay it has something to do with “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, strength, soul and mind and love your neighbor as
yourself.
 
What is the purpose of “good zeal”? Is it to “bring us all together to life everlasting”? I suspect so. I also notice that getting to life everlasting is a communal affair as well as a personal one. It’s both at the same time. Benedict might be bewildered by those who preach personal individual salvation as an end in itself. He might prefer to say that we all of us respond daily and together to Jesus among us.
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