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Monday, 3 September 2012

Benedictine mini-series continued-obedience



On obedience from the Rule:

The first degree of humility is obedience without delay. This becometh those who, on account of the holy subjection which they have promised, or of the fear of hell, or the glory of life everlasting, hold nothing dearer than Christ. As soon as anything hath been commanded by the Superior they permit no delay in the execution, as if the matter had been commanded by God Himself. Of these the Lord saith: "At the hearing of the ear he hath obeyed Me" (Ps 17[18]:45). And again He saith to the teachers: "He that heareth you heareth Me" (Lk 10:16).
Such as these, therefore, instantly quitting their own work and giving up their own will, with hands disengaged, and leaving unfinished what they were doing, follow up, with the ready step of obedience, the work of command with deeds; and thus, as if in the same moment, both matters -- the master's command and the disciple's finished work -- are, in the swiftness of the fear of God, speedily finished together, whereunto the desire of advancing to eternal life urgeth them. They, therefore, seize upon the narrow way whereof the Lord saith: "Narrow is the way which leadeth to life" (Mt 7:14), so that, not living according to their own desires and pleasures but walking according to the judgment and will of another, they live in monasteries, and desire an Abbot to be over them. Such as these truly live up to the maxim of the Lord in which He saith: "I came not to do My own will, but the will of Him that sent Me" (Jn 6:38).
This obedience, however, will be acceptable to God and agreeable to men then only, if what is commanded is done without hesitation, delay, lukewarmness, grumbling or complaint, because the obedience which is rendered to Superiors is rendered to God. For He Himself hath said: "He that heareth you heareth Me" (Lk 10:16). And it must be rendered by the disciples with a good will, "for the Lord loveth a cheerful giver (2 Cor 9:7). " For if the disciple obeyeth with an ill will, and murmureth, not only with lips but also in his heart, even though he fulfil the command, yet it will not be acceptable to God, who regardeth the heart of the murmurer. And for such an action he acquireth no reward; rather he incurreth the penalty of murmurers, unless he maketh satisfactory amendment.


2 comments:

inara said...

Thanks for this ~ I'm printing it out to read to the children. ;o)

I read the Rule as a penance once, and the only part that puzzled me was the prohibition on laughter. I certainly see how teasing, sarcasm, or jokes at another's expense are a negative form of humor, but it's often such a useful tool in diffusing emotional situations (especially relating to disciplining the kids) that I'd hate to be without it. Any insights you could offer?

Supertradmum said...

johninara, recently, it has come to me in groups, that laughter in adults is less exemplary than in children for several reasons. I have watched and listened over the years to laughter in women, for example, as the nuns taught us not to laugh in public and absolutely loudly. I have always been uncomfortable with laughter in women, as it it either connected to flirting or in response to something in appropriate. The idea of a quiet smile or a small chuckle instead of laughter is what is meant here.

Perhaps one can see that if one is living a moderate and spiritual lifestyle, any loudness is inappropriate, whether positive or not. Loud and frequent laughter draws attention to the person laughing as well. Merriment or good humor is not the same as laughter. I know this may be hard to understand, but watch and listen.