Rule of St. Benedict: Chapter 5: On Obedience, May 23, 2017

January 22, May 23, September 22

Chapter 5: On Obedience

The first degree of humility is obedience without delay.

This is the virtue of those

who hold nothing dearer to them than Christ;

who, because of the holy service they have professed,

and the fear of hell,

and the glory of life everlasting,

as soon as anything has been ordered by the Superior,

receive it as a divine command

and cannot suffer any delay in executing it.

Of these the Lord says,

“As soon as he heard, he obeyed Me” (Ps. 17[18]:45).

And again to teachers He says,

“He who hears you, hears Me” (Luke 10:16).

Such as these, therefore,

immediately leaving their own affairs

and forsaking their own will,

dropping the work they were engaged on

and leaving it unfinished,

with the ready step of obedience

follow up with their deeds the voice of him who commands.

And so as it were at the same moment

the master’s command is given

and the disciple’s work is completed,

the two things being speedily accomplished together

in the swiftness of the fear of God

by those who are moved

with the desire of attaining life everlasting.

That desire is their motive for choosing the narrow way,

of which the Lord says,

“Narrow is the way that leads to life” (Matt. 7:14),

so that,

not living according to their own choice

nor obeying their own desires and pleasures

but walking by another’s judgment and command,

they dwell in monasteries and desire to have an Abbot over them.

Assuredly such as these are living up to that maxim of the Lord

in which He says,

“I have come not to do My own will,

but the will of Him who sent Me” (John 6:38).

Some thoughts

What gets you back on the track of preferring nothing to Jesus? In his community, Benedict believes obedience will recall the monastic to this desire. How do we out in the world manage this?

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