Benedict’s School

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Benedict’s School

In the prologue of the Rule, St. Benedict says that he “intends to establish a school for the Lord’s service” (Prol. 45). In doing so, Benedict puts forth a method for seeking God. Today, I offer four lessons that can be absorbed from this method and learned in this school.

The first lesson that can be learned in the school of the Lord’s service is that prayer is central to our search for God. In order to develop a relationship with God we need to spend time with Him: talking with Him, listening to Him, and praising Him. Prayer can take many different forms; spoken or silent, communal or personal, lectio divina, the Mass, the Rosary, or just opening your heart and mind to God.

The second lesson that can be found in Benedict’s method is humility. Humility can be found woven throughout the entire Rule. Benedict even dedicates a full chapter to humility. You can’t find God if you are always fully focused on yourself.

The third lesson is obedience to God’s Will. You can’t find God if you are always doing your own thing. Obedience helps us to overcome our self-will and follow God. Living a life of
obedience leads to an authentic freedom and true happiness that brings us to being who and how God dreams us to be.

The fourth lesson that Benedict stresses in his school of the Lord’s service is community. For Benedict everything takes place within the context of community. Benedict understood that we find God in the people around us and we learn to become ourselves through our interaction with others. Through loving others, we love God.

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“Listen carefully, my child, to your master's precepts, and incline the ear of your heart. Receive willingly and carry out effectively your loving father's advice, that by the labor of obedience you may return to Him from whom you had departed by the sloth of disobedience.”
–St. Benedict of Nursia, The Rule of Saint Benedict