Living the Zeal of Benedict

a blog by Sister Marilyn Schauble, OSB

If you have a dispute with someone, make peace with her/him before the sun goes down. RB 4:73

This particular "tool" is probably based on Ephesians 4:26: "Be angry but do not sin [Psalm 4:4]; do not let the sun set on your anger." Quarreling, disputes and misunderstandings inevitably arise in living with others. If we let them fester, they will most likely interfere with daily living. Christ promised happiness to those who make peace (Matthew 5:9). When a dispute occurs one or the other party has to take the initiative and move toward reconciliation. If I am not prepared to return to peace, my greeting of peace will be dishonest. Peace will not happen on its own. I must step back, reflect, pray and acknowledge my participation in the misunderstanding. It is then that I can discover my way to bring authentic peace to the situation.

Let peace fill our hearts, our world, our universe!

Saint Benedict of Nursia (ca. 480-ca. 547)
Patriarch of Western Monasticism

Listen carefully to my instructions,
and attend to them with the ear of your heart. Prologue 1

The twelfth step of humility is that we always manifest humility
in our bearing no less that in our hearts… Chapter 7:2

Let us consider how we ought to sing the psalms in such a way
that our minds are in harmony with our voices. Chapter 19:7

In all things God may be glorified. Chapter 57:9

Let us prefer nothing whatever to Christ,
and may Christ bring us all together to everlasting life. Chapter 72:11-12

With Christ’s help,
keep this little rule that we have written for beginners. Chapter 73:8

Blessings of peace to one and all!

Pray for your enemies out of love for Christ. RB 4:72

It is "in Christ's love," as Benedict points out, that we find the possibility of meeting hostility with kindness, prayer and eventually love. There is no room for hatred in a heart that is drawn into God's love. It is important to look at our own actions, behaviors and words. We are not always as blameless as we would like to believe. Reconciliation is impossible as long as we regard ourselves as the only injured party. Any attitude which makes us superior to another will undermine unity and will chip away at our own integrity. More often than not, the path to reconciliation is cleared by our being willing to be the first, humbly and sincerely, to ask for forgiveness.

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