CHAPTER 20 - Reverence in Prayer

We must know that God regards our purity of heart and tears of compunction, not our many words. RB 20:3

Benedict indicates that the essence of prayer is “purity of heart”. Most likely the root of this concept goes back to Cassian. For both Cassian and Benedict “purity of heart” was not sentimental piety but the gift of one’s whole self to God. A pure heart has as its single focus mindfulness of God.

“Tears” are descriptive as an outcome of prayer in Chapter 20. “Tears” are also mentioned in Chapter 4:7 Tools for Good Works and in the chapters on Lent and the Oratory (49:4; 52:4). According to Gregory in the Dialogues II.17.1 Benedict usually wept when he prayed. Tears can be a sign that the heart is touched by God.

What God asks of us is pure prayer springing from a pure heart. Entering deeply into reverent prayer can open our hearts to the ever abiding, ever loving touch of God.