Monday, September 18, 2017

Lectio: Monday of the Twenty-Fourth Week in Ordinary Time

Readings of the day: RB 4:1-21
Mass: 1 Timothy 2:1-8; Psalm 28; Luke 7:1-10

Today and for the next three days we are immersed in one of the longest chapters of the Holy Rule; a favorite of mine, namely, Chapter Four, “The Tools for Good Works.” In this chapter, Saint Benedict provides what one translator calls, “Guidelines for Christian and Monastic Good Practice.”[1] These guidelines command our attention; the attention of anyone searching for God, no matter their vocation in life. What follows are the first 21:

1The first of all things to aim at is to love the Lord God with your whole heart and soul and strength.
2To love your neighbor as much as you love yourself.
3The other commandments flow from these two: not to kill.
4Not to commit adultery.
5Not to steal.
6Not to indulge covetous and base desires.
7Not to give false evidence against another.
8To give due honor to all.
9Not to inflict on someone else what you would resent if it were done to yourself.
10Renounce your own desires and ambitions so as to be free to follow Christ.
11Control your body with self-discipline.
12Don’t give yourself to unrestrained pleasure.
13Learn to value the self-restraint of fasting.
14Give help and support to the poor.
15Clothe the naked.
16Visit the sick.
17Bury the dead.
18Console and counsel those who suffer in time of grief.
19Bring comfort to those in sorrow.
20Don’t get too involved in purely worldly affairs.
21Count nothing more important than the love you should cherish for Christ.

Some may find these tools daunting. For today, why not choose one and write it down. Next, write down how you will specifically use that tool today to guide you in your search for God. Stay tuned for more guidelines.

You laid down your precepts to be carefully kept;
may my ways be firm in keeping your statutes.
Psalm 119(118):4-5, Communion antiphon, Mass 

[1] St Benedict, Saint Benedict’s Rule, trans. P. Barry, 3rd ed. (Santiago, Chile: Manquehue Apostolic Movement, 2007), 53.

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