Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Benedictine Ideals

One of the things that Saint Benedict offers us in the Rule is a set of ideals that never cease to challenge us. He invites us to something, to someone, that is always, at the same time, both beyond ourselves and within ourselves.

We know Christ by faith and we trust in the verity of God revealed in Scripture. We are convinced by his divine activity that the Scriptures are true, that he has come to save us, and that the life of salvation calls us to enter into the life that is his life.[1] His life, conceived in us, becomes our life[2] and we can’t possibly help but to conclude, if we are honest in our appraisal, that the development of his life in us, the ultimate ideal, is too important to ignore or take lightly.

Benedictine’s Rule, although primarily designed as the guidelines for life lived within the monastic enclosure, is an invaluable aid in cultivating the realization of the ultimate ideal in our lives. It’s rubrics and schedules, precepts and principles, although difficult to adhere to precisely here in the workaday world outside of the monastery, still provide a certain definable and attainable form and cadence to life.

The precise form and cadence of the Rule, particularly concerning the Opus Dei, continually invites and challenges us to invest more of ourselves in actuating the monastic ideals intended to lead us in the realization of the ultimate monastic ideal. Prayer and prayerfulness, are, more than anything else, the heart and soul of Benedict’s monastic spirituality.

We short ourselves, do ourselves an injustice, when we rationalize our way around, or entirely out of, consistently performing at least some part, or parts, of the Work of God.[3]

[1] John 8:32
[2] Luke 17:33
[3] Guidelines For Oblates Of St. Benedict, Sec. D, para. II