Wise Friend recommended that I read The Rule Of St. Benedict. For those who don’t know, St. Benedict of Nursia lived in Europe in the sixth century, during the days of the fall of the Roman Empire. In response to the craziness around him, he established Christian communities of peace, order, prayer and stability. So that those in the community could live well together, he wrote rules centering on obedience, stability, conversion. Benedictine and other monasteries still follow The Rule of St. Benedict today.
“I’m not a monk,” said I to Wise Friend. “What does this have to do with me?”
Wise Friend gave that smile which really means, here she goes again. “The Rule is applicable to everybody. Go home and read it.” Maybe he wanted to add “it’s short, why are you complaining? You can read, can’t you?”
Knowing better than to mess with Wise Friend, I took his book and left. I read the book and again asked (myself this time) “what on Earth does this have to do with me?”
Back I went to Wise Friend. “Wise friend,” said I, “I read your book from cover to cover. Now you have to tell me what I just read, because I don’t get it.”
Again with the here-she-goes-again smile. Wise Friend really knows how to knock me off my pedestal. Ouch! He’s also very patient, so he did his level best to explain The Rule. I’m still trying to process it. No doubt, I will have more questions and I haven’t got it all figured out, but for now here’s what I understand, kind of.
St. Benedict’s Rule is very ordered. Its’ 3 pillars are work, rest, prayer. In order to achieve the pillars, one has to be obedient, stable and be open to conversion (which means open to changing, learning and growing).
Obedience doesn’t just mean being obedient to the Word of God and the teachings of my Catholic faith. It also means to be obedient to events in my life – use an umbrella when it’s pouring rain; follow the schedule of client appointments in my daytimer; be on time for a parent-teacher conference.
Stability comes from following rules, which goes hand-in-hand with obedience. For instance: chocolate is not breakfast (I have trouble with that one); make sure the younger kids have a healthy lunch before they leave for school; sterilize my foot care equipment. Other people have different rules depending on their situation.
Conversion means realizing that there is always room for growth, learning and change in my life. Stop thinking that I have arrived and nothing about me needs changing. That includes constantly working on my marriage. Prayer really helps with conversion. Actually, prayer really helps with everything.
Trying to live St. Benedict’s way establishes peace in one’s life and draws a person closer to God. Peace, quiet, God …….all of which I can’t get enough. So, I think it’s in my best interest to keep trying to understand and live by The Rule of St. Benedict.
Wise Friend was right, again.