Living the Zeal of Benedict

a blog by Sister Marilyn Schauble, OSB

...speak no foolish chatter, nothing just to provoke laughter ... RB 4: 53

Benedict is suggesting that there is no place for laughter that is unkind or demeaning. Humor is not always funny. Sometimes it is deadly serious and very hurtful.

Karl Rahner speaks of the kind of laughter that Benedict would encourage. It is a laughter that is the sign of inexpressible interior joy - a faith-inspired laughter.

Prefer moderation in speech. (RB 4:52)

Do my words control a conversation?

Do I love the sound of my own voice?

Do I push another away by my words?

Do I truly listen to another?

Do I draw another out?

Do I know where another is coming from?

Do I make respectful room for another?

Let's try an experiment:
- cut our words in half
- include all at table
- listen, listen, listen

Guard your lips from harmful or deceptive speech. RB 4:51

Psalm 39: I said, I will be watchful of my ways for fear I should sin with my tongue. I will put a curb on my lips when the wicked stand before me.

Benedict recommends that when we speak we are to be gentle, humble, serious, few, and reasonable. Some other descriptors that might fit are mild, light, soothing, tender, calm, peaceful, placid, serene, tranquil, compassionate, merciful, down-to-earth, and well-grounded. Bet you can think of more.

The outcome, over time, could be a person living in an ongoing attitude of truth before God, before the neighbor, and before self - like a soft-soul that makes the world a kinder place by word and deed.

Rejoice heavenly spirits! Sing choirs of angels! Exult all creation around God. Jesus Christ, our Savior is risen!

The Exultet has roots in the first centuries of Christianity. In form, it is a “thanksgiving,” with similarities to the Eucharistic prayer. It is a call to exult, to rejoice, to sing!

Sound the trumpet of salvation! Rejoice, O earth, in shining splendor, radiant in the brightness of your God.

The Exultet calls to mind the greatness of God in the paschal mystery. Through the chanted melody we remember the history of salvation and meditate on the effects of that salvation in the life of every believer.

Christ has conquered! Glory fills you! Darkness vanishes forever! Exult in glory! The risen Savior shines upon you! Let this place resound with joy, echoing the joyous song of all God’s people!

The text of the Exultet invites heaven, earth and the people of God to rejoice in this “most blessed of all nights.” It recalls Israel’s exodus, then proclaims a new exodus as Christians everywhere move from slavery to freedom, and all people of God share in the rising of Christ.

This is the night! This is the night! This is the night! This is the night when Jesus Christ broke the chains of death and rose triumphant from the grave.

With great rejoicing the Paschal Candle is offered, “a pillar of fire, mingled with the lights of heaven,” where we meet Christ, the Morning Star, whose resurrection dispels darkness forever.

Accept this Easter Candle, a flame divided but undimmed, a pillar of fire that glows to the honor of God. Let it mingle with the lights of heaven and continue bravely burning to dispel the darkness of this night!

Christ is risen! Christ is truly risen!

My feet
are a different color
a different gender
were born in a different country
believe in a different god

My feet
are barred from equal opportunity
live in fear of hate crimes
are homeless
are burned from chemical warfare
are lonely

My feet
carry the burden of having killed the innocent in wartime
are angry
are under employed
are banished from human rights

My feet
have stood in the lines of many soup kitchens
are scarred from violence and abuse
carry the weight of addiction

My feet
stand their ground
have run in fear

Have you washed these feet?

Do you understand what I have done for you? You address me as "teacher," and fitting enough, for that is what I am. If I have washed your feet - I who am teacher - then you must wash each other's feet. What I did was to give you an example. As I have done, so you must do. (John 13)