{Practicing Benedict} Prayer and Anything Worthwhile

“My words are addressed to you especially, whoever you may be, whatever your circumstances, who turn from the pursuit of your own self-will and ask to enlist under Christ…” (From the Prologue, the Rule of St. Benedict) Beginning today, we’re starting a new Wednesday series about what I’ve been learning over the past two years…

 

{Practicing Benedict} Nothing harsh or burdensome

Welcome to Mama:Monk’s weekly Wednesday series examining St. Benedict’s Rule and what it has meant to me as a stay at home mom. (Full disclosure! I’m no expert on Benedict or the Benedictine Order. I just love him/them and can’t seem to stop reading books that have “Benedictine” in the title.)  “In the guidance we lay down…

 

{Practicing Benedict} The God who comes

Welcome to Mama:Monk’s weekly Wednesday series examining St. Benedict’s Rule and what it has meant to me as a stay at home mom. (Full disclosure! I’m no expert on Benedict or the Benedictine Order. I just love him/them and can’t seem to stop reading books that have “Benedictine” in the title.) In my former life I traveled…

 

{Practicing Benedict} Nothing More Important

Welcome to Mama:Monk’s weekly Wednesday series examining St. Benedict’s Rule and what it is teaching me about life as a stay at home mom. “Count nothing more important that the love you should cherish for Christ…Don’t harbor in your heart any trace of deceit nor pretend to be at peace with another when you are not; don’t…

 

{Practicing Benedict} Your hope of fulfillment

Welcome to Mama:Monk’s weekly Wednesday series examining St. Benedict’s Rule and what it is teaching me about life as a stay at home mom. “Your hope of fulfillment should be centered in God alone. When you see any good in yourself, then, don’t take it to be your very own, but acknowledge it as a gift from…

 

{Practicing Benedict} A reputation for holiness

Welcome to Mama:Monk’s weekly Wednesday series examining St. Benedict’s Rule and what it’s teaching me about motherhood and the praying life… “No one should aspire to gain a reputation for holiness. First of all we must actually become holy; then there would be some truth in having a reputation for it…” (St. Benedict’s Rule, Chapter…

 

{Practicing Benedict} When love is obedience

Welcome to Mama:Monk’s weekly Wednesday series examining St. Benedict’s Rule and what it’s teaching me about motherhood and the praying life… “The first step on the way to humility is to obey an order without delaying for a moment. That is a response which comes easily to those who hold nothing dearer than Christ himself”…

 

{Practicing Benedict} When it is best not to speak

Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. Go near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools, who do not know that they do wrong. Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God. God is in heaven and…

 

{Practicing Benedict} Humility

“Holy Scripture, brethren, cries out to us, saying, ‘Everyone who exalts himself shall be humbled,and he who humbles himself shall be exalted’ (Luke 14:11). In saying this it shows us that all exaltation is a kind of pride, against which the Prophet proves himself to be on guard when he says, ‘Lord, my heart is…

 

{Practicing Benedict} Lord open my lips…

“During the winter season the office of vigils begins with this verse recited three times; Lord, open my lips and my mouth will declare your praise. To this should be added the third psalm and the Gloria. Then will come the ninety fourth psalm chanted with its antiphon and after that an Ambrosian hymn, followed…

 

{Practicing Benedict} Seven Times a Day

“The words of the Psalm are: I have uttered your praises seven times during the day. We shall fulfill that sacred number of seven if at the times of Lauds, Prime, Terce, Sext, None, Vespers and Compline we perform the duty of service to God, because it was of these day hours that the psalm…

 

{Practicing Benedict} It should normally be short.

“If in ordinary life we have a favour to ask of someone who has power and authority, we naturally approach that person with due deference and respect. When we come, then with our requests in prayer before the Lord, who is God of all creation, is it not all the more important that we should…

 

{Practicing Benedict} On rising immediately

“All should be prepared to rise immediately without any delay as soon as the signal to get up is given; then they should hurry to see who can get first to the oratory for the work of God, but of course they should do this with due dignity and restraint. The young should not have…

 

{Practicing Benedict} The greatest possible concern

“As for the abbot or abbess, they must show the greatest possible concern with great wisdom and perseverance to avoid losing any one of the sheep committed to their care. They should be well aware that they have undertaken an office which is more like the care of the sick than the exercise of power…

 

{Praciticing Benedict} The Sacred Vessels of the Altar

“All the utensils of the monastery and in fact everything that belongs to the monastery should be cared for as though they were the sacred vessels of the altar…” (The Rule of St. Benedict, Chapter 31). If we aim to live as monks, then what else is our home but the monastery? Full of people…

 

{Practicing Benedict} The work of God

“When the time comes for one of the divine offices to begin, as soon as the signal is heard, everyone must set aside whatever they may have in hand and hurry as fast as possible to the oratory, but of course they should do so in a dignified way which avoids giving rise to any…

 

{Practicing Benedict} How Lent should be observed in the monastery

“There can be no doubt that monastic life should always have a Lenten character about it, but there are not many today who have the strength for that. Therefore we urge that all in the monastery during these holy days of Lent should look carefully at the integrity of their lives and get rid in…

 

{Practicing Benedict} Work and Prayer and Rest

“Idleness is the enemy of the soul. Therefore all the community must be occupied at definite times in manual labour and at other times in lectio divina.” (The Rule of St. Benedict, Chapter 48) One of the things that makes St. Benedict’s Rule so significant in the canon of ancient Christian writings, is that he…

 

{Practicing Benedict} A post about monks and errands and eating

“Any who are sent on an errand which will allow them to return to the monastery on the same day must not eat outside, in spite of pressing invitations whatever their source, unless the superior has approved this..” (The Rule of St. Benedict, Chapter 51) Oh, the errands! There are the errands and the falling…

 

{Practicing Benedict} Receiving Guests, Receiving Christ

“Any guest who happens to arrive at the monastery should be received as we would receive Christ himself, because he promised that on the last day he will say: I was a stranger and you welcomed me… As soon as the arrival of a guest is announced, the superior and members of the community should…

 

{Practicing Benedict} When new clothing is issued

“When new clothing is issued, the old should be immediately returned to be put in store for distribution to the poor. Two tunics and two cowls should be enough for each member of the community to provide for night-wear and for laundering. Anything more than that would be excessive and this must be avoided…

 

{Practicing Benedict} Do not disappoint me…

“When the decision is made that novices are to be accepted, then they come before the whole community in the oratory to make solemn promise of stability, fidelity to monastic life and obedience … Novices must record their promises in a document … Each must write the document in his or her own hand or…

 

{Practicing Benedict} Offering the Child

“If parents who are from the nobility want to offer to God in the monastery one of their children, who is too young to take personal responsibility, they should draw up a document like that described above and, as they make the offering, wrap the document with the child’s hand in the altar cloth…

 

{Practicing Benedict} Compassion and Sober Judgment

“The abbot or abbess, once established in office, must often think about the demands made on them by the burden they have undertaken and consider also to whom they will have to give an account of their stewardship. They must understand the call of their office is not to exercise power over those who are…

 

{Practicing Benedict} Gentle Piety, Warm Charity

At the entrance to the monastery there should be a wise senior who is too mature in stability to think of wandering about and who can deal with the enquiries and give whatever help is required. This official’s room should be near the main door so that visitors will always find someone there to greet…

 

{Practicing Benedict} The Good Spirit

“It is easy to recognize the bitter spirit of wickedness which creates a barrier to God’s grace and opens the way to the evil of hell. But equally there is a good spirit which frees us from evil ways and brings us closer to God and eternal life. It is this latter spirit that all…

 

{Practicing Benedict} The Finale: A Beginning

The purpose for which we have written this rule is to make it clear that by observing it in our monasteries we can at least achieve the first steps in virtue and good monastic practice. Anyone, however, who wished to press on towards the highest standards of monastic life may turn to the teachings of…



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