Thursday, January 19, 2017

Chapter 2: Gifts needed by an abbot or abbess (paragraph 5-6)


They should make their own the different ways of teaching which the Apostle Paul recommended to Timothy when he told him to make use of criticism, of entreaty and of rebuke. (From para. 5 of Ch. 2 of Saint Benedict's Rule, trans. by Patrick Barry, OSB, 1997.)

If I'm to know how to guide someone most appropriately, I must first listen to them with the ear of my heart.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Chapter 2: Gifts needed by an abbot or abbess (paragraph 4)


They should not select for special treatment any individual in the monastery. (From para. 4 of Ch. 2 of Saint Benedict's Rule, trans. by Patrick Barry, OSB, 1997.)

I can't be an authentic leader committed to the welfare of others, and play favorites. But I must admit that I have my special friends, and will be tempted to love them in a way that can teeter on the edge of exclusivity. Benedict and Fr John remind me that true love always sets another free.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Chapter 3: Calling the community together for consultation (paragraphs 2-3)


Such is the appropriate way to conform to that precept of scripture: If you act always after hearing the counsel of others, you will avoid the need to repent of your decision afterwards.
(From para. 3 of Ch. 3 of Saint Benedict's Rule, trans. by Patrick Barry OSB, 1997.)

I'm grateful when the Spirit inspires me with energy and initiative; it's come to feel like a very trustworthy partnership! And yet, I also know that to act within a loving community requires counsel, discernment, and patience, for the very reason that the movement must be of the Spirit, and not of my ego.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Chapter 3: Calling the community together for consultation (paragraph 1)


The community themselves should be careful to offer their advice with due deference and respect, avoiding an obstinate defence of their own convictions. (From para. 1 of Ch. 3 of Saint Benedict's Rule, trans. by Patrick Barry OSB, 1997.)

I think assumptions and self-defense rule many conversations, even subtly between friends. Meditation teaches me to recognize, little by little, the control tactics of my ego. May I truly learn to express the deference and respect that spring from the compassionate heart. 

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Chapter 2: Gifts needed by an abbot or abbess (paragraphs 8-9)


It is above all important that monastic superiors should not underrate or think lightly of the salvation of the souls committed to them by giving too much attention to transient affairs of this world which have no lasting value.
(From para. 8 of Ch. 2 of Saint Benedict's Rule, trans. by Patrick Barry OSB, 1997.)

Am I in the presence of God as I move throughout my day, or am I in the fabrications of my ego?

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Chapter 2: Gifts needed by an abbot or abbess (paragraph 7)


It is the task of the superiors to adapt with sympathetic understanding to the needs of each so that they may not only avoid any loss but even have the joy of increasing the number of good sheep in the flock committed to them. (From para. 7 of Ch. 2 of Saint Benedict's Rule, trans. by Patrick Barry OSB, 1997.)

Adapting with sympathetic understanding, it seems to me, is a fruit of selfless attention. Such attention has the power to transform my consciousness, and thus the consciousness of the world, through my simple, faithful practice.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Chapter 2: Gifts needed by an abbot or abbess (paragraph 5-6)


They should make their own the different ways of teaching which the Apostle Paul recommended to Timothy when he told him to make use of criticism, of entreaty and of rebuke. (From para. 5 of Ch. 2 of Saint Benedict's Rule, trans. by Patrick Barry, OSB, 1997.)

If I'm to know how to guide someone most appropriately, I must first listen to them with the ear of my heart.