Feast of St. Benedict

Happy feast of St. Benedict, the person who had perhaps the greatest influence on the development of Western monasticism.

We know Benedict as the founder of an order that still thrives today and as the author of a Holy Rule that he established for his followers. What we sometimes forget about Benedict and his Rule is that Benedict was a layman; he was never a priest. And his Rule was written for the laity.

Benedict considered his rule to be  “a little rule…for beginners.” It offers what could be called a moderate path to holiness, a path any ordinary person could take. He aimed that “the strong would have something to strive after and the weak would not be driven away.” One author suggested it contained “the moderation and compassion of the Gospel itself and it also has the urgency and the fire and passion of the Gospel.” Moderation is not a bad rule for us to keep in mind.

One of the things Benedict was concerned with is our tendency to be distracted from God, because distraction often leads to sins of omission or indifference.  Hence Benedict proposed reminders for prayer at prescribed times of day. It was with the development and spread of Benedictine monasteries that the Liturgy of the Hours became an established practice in the atholic Church.

There is value in these reminders, and we might ask ourselves, what daily reminders or interrupters might we incorporate in our daily schedule to bring God to mind at various times during the day, to just take a momentary time out. Some people use the ringing of the telephone as their interrupter, taking a moment to be consciously in God’s presence before answering the call. It doesn’t matter what it is, the idea is to find something, anything the serves the same purpose as the bells signalling one of the “Hours” a call to mindfulness, a call to consciously mark a moment as sacred. I’m sure you can come up with a meaningful one for yourself.

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