Thursday, July 16, 2015

The Rule of Saint Benedict: Chapter 5

This next chapter on our journey through the Rule covers obedience.

Chapter 5


The fist step of humility is unhesitating obedience,

which comes naturally to those who cherish Christ above all.

Because of the Holy service they have professed to,or because of dread of hell and for the glory of everlasting life,

they carry out the superiror's order as promptly as if the command came from God himself.

The Lord says of men like this: No sooner did he hear than he obeyed me (Ps 17  [18]:45);

again, he tells teachers: Whoever listens to you, listens to me (Luke 10:16).

Such people as these immediately put aside their own concerns, abandon their own will,

and lay down whatever they have in hand, leaving it unfinished. With the ready step of obedience, they follow the voice of authority in their actions.

Almost at the same moment, then, as the master gives the instruction the disciple quickly puts it into practice in the fear of God; and both actions together are swiftly completed as one.

It is love that impels them to peruse everlasting life;

therefore, they are eager to take the narrow road of which the Lord says: Narrow is the road that leads to life (Matt 7:14).

They no longer live by their own judgement, giving in to their whims and appetites; rather they walk according to another's decisions and directions, choosing to live in monasteries and to have abbot over them.

Men of this resolve unquestionably conform to the saying of the Lord: I have Cont not to do my will, but the will of him who sent me (John 6:38).

This very obedience, however, will be acceptable to God and agreeable to men only if compliance with what is commanded is not cringing or sluggish or half-hearted, but free from any grumbling or any reaction of unwillingness.

For the obedience shown to superiors is given to God, as he himself said: Whoever listens to you, listens to me (Luke 10:16).

Furthermore, the disciples' obedience must be given gladly, for God loves a cheerful giver (2Cor 9:7).

If a disciple obeys grudgingly and grumbles, not only aloud but also in his heart,

then, even though he carries out the order, his action will not be accepted with favor by God, who sees that he is grumbling in his heart.

He will have no reward for service of this kind; on the contrary, he will incur punishment for grumbling, unless he changes for the better and makes amends.


I have to admit that even this one is hard for me. Being in the military we are expected to follow orders, but there is plenty of grumbling while doing the work, especially when it is work that is seen as redundant and repetitive.

There are oft times reasons for the work proscribed, such as vehicles need maintenance - or usually busy work so you don't get tasked with some kind of detail that you will really hate.

Still the spirit of contrariness is there.

Even in the civilian world, this can be hard to do at work, having to listen to a boss that really has no clue. However, we can see that it is good and right to obey*

*In the military it would be prudent to question some orders, just saying.

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