Saint Benedict and his Rule

At the end of the fifth century, when he could have been successful in Rome, Benedict of Nursia chose to retire to seclusion and to live under the grace of God alone. He settled in a cave in Subiaco. After a few years of eremitical life his life attracted many disciples. They also wished to serve God, he then founded a dozen monasteries, the best known of which was that of Mount Cassin. Inspired by previous monastic writers, he wrote a Rule of Life to guide his monks. This text of 73 short chapters is a model of balance and spiritual depth. It has crossed the centuries and still leads thousands of monks and nuns in their search for God. Every morning, in the Chapter Hall, our community gathers to listen to a chapter of this Rule and our Mother Abbess comments on the passage to adapt it to our daily life.

           Chapter 72: THE GOOD ZEAL THAT MONKS MUST HAVE

 

Just as there is a wicked zeal of bitterness which separates from God and leads to hell, so there is a good zeal which separates from evil and leads to God and everlasting life.

 

It is this zeal that the monks will practice with a very ardent love: They will honor each other with thoughtfulness; they will bear with great patience the infirmities of others, both physical and moral; they will obey each other over and over; no one will seek what he considers useful for himself, but rather what is useful for others; they will grant each other chaste fraternal charity; they will fear God with love; they will love their abbot with sincere and humble charity; they will prefer absolutely nothing to Christ; may He bring us all together to eternal life!