Friday, May 27, 2016
One who follows that way finds protection at all times from sin and vice of thought, of tongue, of hand, of foot, of self-will and of disordered sensual desire, so as to lead a life that is completely open before the scrutiny of God and of his angels who watch over us from hour to hour. (From para. 5 of Ch. 7 of Saint Benedict's Rule, trans. by Patrick Barry OSB, 1997.)
The disorder of the human condition, of my condition, is always seeking true harmony and integrity in God -- that is, alignment with my Source.
Thursday, May 26, 2016
Chapter 7: The value of humility (paragraph 4)
The first step of humility is to cherish at all times the sense of awe with which we should turn to God. It should drive forgetfulness away... (From Ch. 4 of St. Benedict's Rule, trans. by Patrick Barry, OSB, 1997.)
"To cherish at all times the sense of awe with which we should turn to God" means that I live my life in a way pleasing to God -- not in the sense of being a "people-pleaser" (or a "god-pleaser") -- but in the sense of knowing that it is awesome divine energy coursing through my being, giving me life, and carrying me along.
Wednesday, May 25, 2016
Chapter 7: The value of humility (paragraphs 1-3)
The word of God in scripture teaches us in clear and resounding terms that anyone who lays claim to a high position will be brought low and anyone who is modest in self-appraisal will be lifted up. (From Saint Benedict's Rule, trans. by Patrick Barry, OSB, 1997.)
I understand the modesty Benedict describes as neither self-inflating nor self-denigrating, but the modesty of clear vision, the clear vision of the heart. The ego, through puffing up and deflating, can obscure this vision; the ego can creep into anything. Benedict reminds me I will be "lifted up", or liberated, from the ego's controls, as I remain true to my practice of selfless attention.
Tuesday, May 24, 2016
Chapter 6: Cherishing silence in the monastery
I am guarded about the way I speak and have accepted silence in humility refraining even from words that are good. (From para. 1 of Ch. 6 of Saint Benedict's Rule, trans. by Patrick Barry OSB, 1997.)
Listening to the mantra teaches me how to listen to others.
Monday, May 23, 2016
Chapter 5: Monastic obedience (paragraphs 4-5)
We should remember, however, that such obedience will be acceptable to God and rewarding to us, if we carry out the orders given us in a way that is not fearful, nor slow, nor half-hearted, nor marred by murmuring or the sort of compliance that betrays resentment. (From para. 4 of Ch. 5 of Saint Benedict's Rule, trans. by Patrick Barry OSB, 1997.)
In the translation of the Rule that I'm reading, Abbot Barry notes that murmuring is not a legitimate means for dealing with the complaints that may arise in community, because it can destroy confidence in community life. He goes on to say that, for the individuals who murmur, "[murmuring] becomes increasingly addictive and [murmurers] develop a corresponding blindness to the harm they are doing to themselves and to others." Meditation makes me increasingly alert to habits of my mind and heart that arise from a false sense of self, so that I may grow in the direction of truth.
Sunday, May 22, 2016
Chapter 5: Monastic obedience (paragraphs 1-3)
The first step on the way to humility is to obey an order without delaying for a moment. That is a response which comes easily to those who hold nothing dearer than Christ himself. (From para. 1 of Ch. 5 of Saint Benedict's Rule, trans. by Patrick Barry OSB, 1997.)
If my "abbess" is the inner teacher, or God speaking to me through others, Benedict's injunction could sometimes lead me, not to obedience, but to impulsivity or confusion. This is especially true if my ego is in overdrive, and my discernment isn't clear. But "holding nothing dearer than Christ himself" is a fruit of meditation -- a grounding in the heart, and a responsiveness borne of love.
Saturday, May 21, 2016
Chapter 4: Guidelines for Christian and monastic good practice (paragraphs 9-13)
You should take delight in listening to sacred reading and in often turning generously to prayer.
(From para. 9 of Ch. 4 of Saint Benedict's Rule, trans. by Patrick Barry OSB, 1997.)
There's no doubt in my mind that a fruit of saying my word is the gradual expansion of spirit into the flow of continuous prayer.