CHAPTER 4 – How to Live Our Lives - Part 1

First of all, “love God with your whole heart, your whole soul and all your strength, and love your neighbor as yourself” (Mt. 22:37-39; Mk 12:30-31; Lk. 10:27). RB 4:1-2

Chapter 4 of the Rule of Benedict, The Tools for Good Works, presents short statements of how to progress in this life as a Christian. Many of the phrases are taken from the Bible or inspired by it. They are guides for the spiritual journey and a challenge for an entire lifetime.

Benedict is concerned with the attitude of the heart. The Word of God strengthens the development of the inner person. The tools of good works allow the strength of the inner person to be reflected in outward behavior.

Chapter 4 starts with two commandments on love as found in earlier sources: the Decalogue: Ten Commandments (Ex. 19:23; Deut. 5:2), the Golden Rule: “Do to others as you would have them do to you” (Mt 7:12; Lk 6:31) , and the Didache: Teachings of the Apostles. The first two verses of this chapter give the essential law of the Gospels. Benedict sums up the whole purpose of the way of life that he is promoting for anyone who is Christian: love God and love others.