Living the Zeal of Benedict

a blog by Sister Marilyn Schauble, OSB

Respect the elders and love the young. RB 4:70-71

Benedict reminds us that each person
- has a specific place within the (world) community
- is to have an open ear and heart to voices of experience
- is to be aware that every new-comer brings the gift of fresh eyes and thoughts
- is called to live a life of gratitude, respect and love
- is called to recognize and celebrate the uniqueness of all creation

Shun arrogance. RB 4:69

So being pleased with oneself might seem to be OK, especially if there is good reason to be pleased. However, lest we get puffed up with pride, Benedict reminds us that everything comes from God as gift. "Those who reverence God should not become elated over their good deeds; they judge it is God's strength, not their own, that brings about the good in them" (RB Prol. 29).

John Cassian, predecessor of Benedict, wrote in Conference 15:7: Humility is the teacher of all the virtues, the most solid foundation of the heavenly building. It is Christ's special and greatest gift.

We make progress in humility by being immersed in the Gospels and developing a personal relationship with Christ. From this relationship we become aware that we are known and loved and lovable.

This is the model for healthy relationships
- to know self
- to know another
- to be known by another
- to love self
- to love another
- to be loved by another

Everything is gift!
Everything is grace!

Do not love quarreling. RB 4:68

From the first few words of Benedict's Rule
we hear what can make quarreling less prevalent.
"Listen! Listen ... with the ear of your heart." (Prologue 1).

We are to foster a culture of listening to others with profound respect. We are to acknowledge the fact that others have a piece of the truth that we have not heard yet or paid attention to.

Benedict calls us to be open and mindful of what is being said. He reminds us often that different viewpoints are needed before arriving at a healthy level of common agreement.

Somethings I have been thinking about lately:
Am I really open to hear with others have to say
- or am I too attached to my own viewpoint?
Why might I argue with another person
- is it because I feel threatened by their point of view?
- is it because I may have to change?
Do I live as if I am on a One-Way Street
- my way is the only way?
Can I take in another's point of view and blend it with mine
- so that together we can move forward on a common path?

Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!

I am no longer afraid of death,
I know well its darkness
and cold corridors leading to life.
I am afraid rather of that life
which does not come out of death.
I live each day to kill death.
I die each day to beget life,
and in this dying until death,
I die a thousand time and am reborn
another thousand through that love
from my community, which nourishes hope.
You will then know how marvelous it is
to live threatened with Resurrection!
To dream awake,
to keep watch asleep,
to live while dying
and to already know oneself resurrected.

Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia!

Threatened with Resurrection
by Julia Esquivel p. 63, 65

Christians to the Paschal Victim,
offer your thankful praises.

A Lamb redeems the sheep;
Christ, who is sinless,
reconciles sinners to our Creator.

Life and death fought together in great combat.

The Sign of Life, who died, reigns immortal.

Tell us, Mary, what you saw on your way.
"I saw the tomb of the living Christ,
the glory of Jesus' resurrection.

The angels gave witness to the empty shroud.
Christ, my hope, is risen from the dead;
he goes before us into Galilee."

We know that Christ is risen from the dead,
our new life obtaining.
Have mercy on us, victorious one.

Amen Alleluia!