Jan. 7 – May 8 – Sept. 7
And so we are going to establish
a school for the service of the Lord.
In founding it we hope to introduce nothing harsh or burdensome.
But if a certain strictness results from the dictates of equity
for the amendment of vices or the preservation of charity,
do not be at once dismayed and fly from the way of salvation,
whose entrance cannot but be narrow (Matt. 7:14).
For as we advance in the religious life and in faith,
our hearts expand
and we run the way of God’s commandments
with unspeakable sweetness of love.
Thus, never departing from His school,
but persevering in the monastery according to His teaching
we may by patience share in the sufferings of Christ (1 Peter 4:13)
and deserve to have a share also in His kingdom.
I think it’s very easy to ‘be at once dismayed’ at things that seem too hard or harsh for us, and then give up, or try something different that might be easier.
But giving up or looking for something that’s easier or more convenient might lead us away from ‘the way of salvation’. That’s a sobering thought.
The Bible has many texts about ‘enduring’ and ‘endurance’. Many blessings come if we endure. I particularly like Romans 5:1-5. The RB also expects monastics – especially beginners – to endure, to stick it out through the strictness, and thus grow closer to God.
Does anyone have any ideas or patterns for ‘clinging on’ to commitments when the going gets tough or painful?
I like it that St Benedict tells people right from the start that there will be strictness and he also mentions sharing in the sufferings of Christ. This is not an introduction that says ‘Join the monastery and be happy forever more.’ Like Jesus, St Benedict asks would-be brothers/sisters to count the cost before they begin the journey, so as not, later on, when they enter the real struggle, to ‘fly from the way of salvation’.