A School for God's Service

We intend to establish a school for God's service. - Prologue 45

We learn from The Dialogues of Gregory the Great that Benedict of Nursia fled the schools of Rome in order to begin another kind of school. The word “school”, as it was used in Benedict’s day, meant a place where groups met. The word came to mean not only the room itself but also the particular group that gathered there. For Benedict the “school” was to be an environment where one could grow in spiritual maturity through prayer, mutual love and acceptance, patience and work.

Benedict’s school teaches a way of life, an attitude of the mind, an orientation of the soul. It is designed for the ordinary human being. In Benedict’s school Christ is the teacher. We are asked to be the ones who learn as well as the ones who follow the way of Christ.

Following in the way of Christ is the journey of a lifetime. Benedict does not promise transformation overnight. Christ’s way is a path that emphasizes continual commitment to the seeking of God and the finding of Christ in one another.

Benedict does promise that the school will be a reasonable one. What may appear to be difficult at first will, in the long run, become second nature. Benedict’s main purpose in setting up some regulations is to safeguard love. As we progress in the way, we shall find “our hearts overflowing with the inexpressible delight of love” (Prologue 49).