Rule of St. Benedict: Prologue, May 1, 2017

Prologue (January 1, May 1, 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.

Some thoughts
 
It’s wonderful that no matter how many times the Rule is read, there’s always something new to notice in it.
 
Starting again with the Prologue today, the words that leap out at me are these: “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.”
 
“…the strong, bright **weapons** of obedience”. Weapons! Obedience is a weapon – how? And against what? Goodness, my mind is just filling up with ideas here! Our obedience (to God primarily and to a holy rule, and – if we’re monastics – to the abbot/abbess) arms us against our spiritual enemies, against temptation, against our own recklessness or foolish, ill-considered decisions. I could go on, but I won’t, because I’m sure everyone can add to the list of that which the weapon of obedience can defend us from.
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