Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Saint Benedict - 11 July 2016

 
 
Dear Fathers, Friends in Christ,

Rule of Saint Benedict, Prologue v.1
 
The introductory words “listen carefully” frame the entire Rule of Saint Benedict in the form of wisdom literature found in the Old Testament and reflect what the Rule teaches monks throughout the pages of this great work, on the monastery as being a ”school of the Lord’s service”.  Saint Benedict proposes that the monastic home is where each monk learns how to live the ways of God practically in his daily life.  In the same manner, the Rule provides every one of us – monk or not – beautiful guidance that helps us make the right choices in our daily living that will lead us to authentic happiness in our homes.
 
But how can we go about “listening carefully”, especially when so much of our lives is full of noise, and even chaos?  Certainly Saint Benedict’s Rome over 1,500 years ago had its noisy problems in politics and economics, being under the constant threat of barbarian invasions throughout many centuries!  Nonetheless, Saint Benedict encourages and gives us the hope that Christ Jesus indeed provides us the solid, unchanging, and steadfast Rock upon Whom we can and should build our lives.   Jesus Christ leads us to the tranquil love of which He is the Source, and for which we thirst in a world so rife with problems and temptations toward hopelessness.
 
To find peace, happiness, and the greatest fulfillment in this life, Saint Benedict calls us to “listen carefully” for the voice of God speaking in the silence of our hearts.  We need to retreat in order to seek God in the silence, listening for Him “with the ear of our heart”.   What a curious and fascinating image, that Saint Benedict says our hearts have ears!  The Latin word inclina indicates that we are to lean, but towards what or whom?  Towards Christ and His  Commandment of Love!  By making our hearts attentive in trust and hope toward the heart of Jesus, we become more and more capable of hearing God’s own heartbeat beating in love for us.
 
We come to hear the words of God’s Love, spoken by the One Who has created each one of us in Love, by Love, for Love.  The commandments of God – that is, the “master’s instructions”, as articulated  by the superior of the monastery who stands in his authority over the monks of his religious house as representative of Christ’s rule over us – always point us to the divine rule of God’s Love, which is summarized in the complete divinity and humanity of Jesus Christ as Son of God and Son of Man.  It is in the rule of the commandments of God’s Love that we find peace, happiness, and the utmost fulfillment … that perfect Rule being Jesus Christ Himself!
 
Father Ed Bakker
Anglican Catholic Church / Original Province
Mission of Saint Aidan of Lindisfarne
Launceston on Tasmania
Australia
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