Tuesday, March 13, 2012

'Rule' for a Good Life

I have had the good fortune of a strong Benedictine influence in my life. I have a Benedictine education and spent a few summers at St. Meinrad Archabbey learning from and making friends with people who have dedicated themselves to live by St. Benedict's teaching.

The Rule of St. Benedict offers a great guide for a monastic way of life, but its applicability reaches far into our own lives. In particular the prologue and chapter 4 offer us teachings or 'tools for good works' to live Catholic Social Teaching in our everyday life.

Here are some of the teachings of St. Benedict that if we take to heart and practice frequently will make for a happier life not only for us but those we encounter on our journey:
P.4 - First of all, every time you begin a good work, you must pray to Him most earnestly to bring it to perfection.

P.17 - If you desire true and eternal life, keep your tongue free from vicious talk and your lips from all deceit; turn away from evil and do good; let peace be your quest and aim.

4.11-13 - Discipline you body, do not pamper yourself, but love fasting.

4.14-19 - You must relieve the lot of the poor, clothe the naked, visit the sick, and bury the dead. Go to help the troubled and console the sorrowing.

4.20-21 - Your way of acting should be different from the world's way; the love of Christ must come before all else;

4.22-26 - You are not to act in anger or nurse a grudge. Rid you heart of all deceit; Never give a hollow greeting of peace or turn away when someone needs your love.

4.30-31 - Do not injure anyone, but bear injuries patiently. Love your enemies.

4.36-40 - Refrain from too much eating or sleeping, and from laziness. Do not grumble or speak ill of others.

4.42 - If you notice something good in yourself, give credit to God, not to yourself

4.47 - Day by day remind yourself that you are going to die.

4.51-52 - Guard your lips from harmful or deceptive speech.

4.59 - Do no gratify the promptings of the flesh.

4.64-69 - Treasure chastity, harbor neither hatred nor jealousy of anyone, and do nothing out of envy. Do not love quarreling; shun arrogance.

4.72-74 - Pray for your enemies out of love for Christ. If you have a dispute with someone, make peace with him before the sun goes down. And finally, never lose hope in God's mercy.

There are more great teachings from St. Benedict than what I offered here, but I believe these small snippets offer a great foundation for a good life, both materially and spiritually.

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