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benedict rules

"Bringing The Rule To Life"

The official blog of the Office of Mission and Ministry, Benedict Rules offers weekly, brief reflections on The Rule of St. Benedict showing its relevance for daily living. The reflections are written by Delbarton faculty and follow the excerpts from The Rule that the school community meditates upon every Monday morning.  We encourage all to make use of these reflections for their personal prayer, even praying with the passage from The Rule in Lectio Divina style (click here for a simple resource on Lectio Divina, which is an ancient form of prayerful Scripture reading fundamental to the spiritual heritage of the Benedictines). This blog is a way of sharing our Catholic and Benedictine values with the members of our community and all who seek God with a sincere heart.

october 7, 2019

Do not be daunted immediately by fear and run away from the road that leads to salvation. It is bound to be narrow at the outset. - RB Prologue 48

For me, St. Benedict’s emphasis on the narrowness of the road to salvation is enough of an echo of Jesus’ language from the Sermon on the Mount to seem an extension of that daunting metaphor about the “narrow gate” to salvation. In this way, we might find consolation in Benedict’s promise that the road is only narrow at the outset. Here, the great mind behind The Rule's strategy for achieving the most within the narrowness of each day seems a caring coach cheering on an athlete who is capable of more than he knows. Like elsewhere in The Rule, St. Benedict not only maps the path for us but also shouts words of encouragement—do not be daunted!

For me, Benedict’s map also serves an important exegetical function: to remind us that the purpose of Jesus’ lesson was never to scare us into running away from the hard path and always to give us a sort of pep-talk before the biggest game we’ve ever played. Jesus and Benedict both warn us with images of narrowness because they aim to motivate us to expand our narrow, human vision. Jesus, who loves us, wants to light a fire in our hearts and send us running out onto a field where, with the grace of God, we might achieve victories that we never thought possible. (Philip Schochet)

September 30, 2019

As we progress in this way of life and in faith, we shall run on the path of God's commandments, our hearts overflowing with the inexpressible delight of love. - RB Prologue 49   

Let us pause to reflect on what is meant here by “This way of life”. Of course, one might presume that St Benedict is referring to the monastic life - but the rest of the sentence “and in faith” demonstrates that St Benedict intends to address whoever is interested in a life of commitment and service to God and neighbor. As we grow in faith, we achieve both the wisdom and the discipline to be better students, better servants, selfless leaders and loyal friends. The recompense of our efforts to grow in faith and service is a humble and quiet glory: a heart overflowing with delight so great as to be beyond all human expression. A comprehensive reflection of St Benedict’s instruction can also be found in the Prayer of St Francis of Assisi:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy. 

O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive, 
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, 
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Amen. (Jesse Mazzola)

September 23, 2019

"What is not possible to us by nature let us ask the Lord to supply with the help of his grace." - RB Prologue 41

In our everyday life we easily recognize the results of our efforts; good grades, athletic accomplishments, leadership positions, promotions. We work hard, and we play hard to win the prize. 

But what happens when we face a difficult situation or a challenge in our life that we alone can not navigate? St. Benedict reminds us that what we can not earn on our own  is possible through the best gift we will ever receive, the grace of God.  Grace is an undeserved present, we do not need to earn it. God loves us so much that he offers us His grace for the asking.  Paul writes : " My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness"  2 Corinthians 12:9 (Kelly Gleason)

September 16, 2019

"See how the Lord in his love shows us the way of life." - RB Prologue 20  

We find ourselves so easily burdened by work, responsibilities, and obligations.  But how many of these things have we put on ourselves, and how many of these things does God actually want for us?  When we carefully discern God's will in our lives, what we realize is that God does not want us to be stressed or to worry.  He wants us simply to love and trust Him to take care of us.  As He says in Matthew, chapter 11, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." (Elizabeth Mainardi)

September 9, 2019

"Let us open our eyes to the light that comes from God, and our ears to the voice from Heaven." Rule of Benedict Prologue 9

"And" is a very important word in this sentence. St. Benedict calls us to open our eyes AND our ears. We are not called to simply look for God or to listen for God. We are called to both look AND listen for God. If we are only using one sense to find God we are going to miss out on  many of the opportunities that we have to encounter God each day. This week let us use every sense we have to encounter the goodness of God each day. (Matt White)

September 3, 2019

"Listen carefully, my son, to your master's instructions and attend to them with the ear of your heart." Rule of Benedict Prologue 1

As we begin the school year, it is fitting that we reflect on the the beginning of the Rule of St. Benedict. While there is so much to reflect on, I want to focus on the phrase "your master's instructions". It is important for us identify who our "master" is and what the "instructions" that we need to attend to are. There are the obvious "masters" such as teachers, coaches, parents that are easy to identify along with the "instructions" that they give us. What about the not so obvious "masters"? Are we allowing God to be our master? Are we attending to God's instructions? Have we let money, power, the desire "to be cool" become the "master" of our life? This week let us strive to only attend to the "instructions" that bear good fruit rather than bring about harm. (Matt White)