Monday, June 11, 2007

Benedictine Rule for 21st Century

A month ago, at a conference in Montgomery, Alabama, Bishop Goodpasture of Mississipi spoke of the impact living the Benedictine Rule had on his life. Then this past week, while attending a conference in Corpus Christi, I was led to to a small, slender book entitled Always We Begin Again: The Benedictine Way of Living. Written by John McQuiston II, a Memphis attorney, the book is a "translation" of the Sixth Century Benedictine Rule into our contemporary context. It appears to offer promise for one seeking to bring order to a chaotic life. Some excerpts:

"The first rule is simply this:

live this life
and do whatever is done,
in a spirit of Thanksgiving.

Abandon attempts to achieve security,
they are futile,

give up the search for wealth,
it is demeaning,

quit the search for salvation,
it is selfish,

and come to comfortable rest
in the certainty that those who
participate in this life
with an attitude of Thanksgiving
will receive its full promise."
p. 17-18

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

"... we as finite creatures, can perceive only what we are capable of perceiving. Therefore each person must be dealt with in accordance with his or her unique disposition and capacities." p. 30

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

"Remember the great value of silence.
Each day there must be time for silence,
even in our prayers and meditation.
There must be time within which we
neither speak nor listen,
but simply are.

... Too much talk is a sign of self-centeredness
and insecurity." p. 43-44

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Here is the Twelve Stages of Humility, in abbreviated form:

"The first stage of humility
is to keep the sacred nature of consciousness
... always alive within us.

The second stage of humility
is to distrust our own will.

The third stage of humility
is to accept our limitations....

The fourth stage of humility
is to be patient and to maintain
a quiet mind.

The fifth stage of humility
is not to conceal our faults.

The sixth stage of humility is to be content
with the work we are given to do.

The seventh stage of humility is to
understand how inconsequential we are.

The eighth stage of humility is to act
in accordance with the plan of our
true guides.

The ninth stage of humility is to
refrain from judgement (and to offer
advice only when it is requested).

The tenth stage of humility is to
refrain from taking pleasure
in other's losses.

The eleventh stage of humility is to
speak gently and briefly.

The twelth stage of humility is to
maintain humble thoughts and demeanor."

The book is filled with wisdom for living a full life. Sacrifice of our heavy dependance on the material world is called for. The challenge is to give up our efforts to save our lives and to lose them in the service of others. --ca