Living the Zeal of Benedict

a blog by Sister Marilyn Schauble, OSB

...speak the truth with heart and tongue. RB 4:28

Benedict is suggesting that we allow the truth of the heart to come to the surface and make it accessible to others. The work of asceticism is designed to produce over time a transparency by which our inner truth becomes perceptible. The truth that we ARE and SPEAK is meant to bring the glory of God more visible to everyone we meet.

A quote I found from Marianne Williamson gives food for thought about this line in the Rule of Benedict.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a creation of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine. We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. (A Return to Love - Harper Collins, 1992, p. 190)

Happy pondering!

Bind yourself to no oath lest it prove false ... (RB 4:27)

This recommendation could be seen as advice to avoid strong statements that have the potential to intimidate others. Being participatory in life calls for a certain sensitivity in mutual relationships, leaving room for others to be different, to hold different opinions, and to do things differently. This often involves softening the focus of personal views and learning to be tactful and respectful.


2016 Community Jubilee Celebration

Where charity and love are found,
there will the face of God be seen.
The love of Christ will bind our hearts;
as one body we will be.

(2003 - Where Love Is Found
- Dan Schutte, OCP)

The Benedictine spirituality of community
is based on life with other persons in the spirit of Christ:
to support them,
to empower them,
and to learn from them.

In Benedictine spirituality,
community is a very human thing.
It is not perfection that is expected but growth.

In community
we work out our connectedness to God,
to one another,
and to ourselves.
It is in community
where we find out who we really are.

Alone, we are what we are,
but in community
we have the chance of becoming everything we can be.
(1990 - Wisdom Distilled from the Daily
- Joan Chittister - Harper & Row)

Let us follow the prophet's counsel: "I said, I have resolved to keep watch over my ways that I may never sin with my tongue. (Ps. 39:2)." RB 6:1

John Cassian, one of Benedict's sources, says that a monastic's calling to seek "nothing other than the vision and contemplation of divine purity ... can be acquired only by silence."

Words can heal, affirm, confirm, and strengthen our relationships with others. They can also be a source of separation, tearing-down, and pain. In this chapter of the Rule Benedict is strongly suggesting that choosing what to say and when to say it is very important for each monastic. What will I choose today - words of compassion, healing, peace, care, concern, inclusion, affirmation?

May my words send good, harmonious vibrations into the world, the universe and beyond.

The first step of humility is unhesitating obedience, which comes naturally to those who cherish Christ above all. RB 5:1-2

Unhesitating obedience is a radical demand and calls for a radical response. This type of obedience comes from the heart and is rooted in listening to God. We strive to let go of our superficial desires and listen with the ear of the heart. We listen to God so that we know how to respond in love to God’s will. This type of listening helps us experience an interior freedom.

Every day I work on experiencing inner freedom.

How are you doing?