The Rule of Saint Benedict

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The Rule of Saint Benedict

  1. 1. THE RULE OF SAINT BENEDICT Feast Day*: March 21 Saint Benedict of Nursia (Italian: San Benedetto da Norcia) (480–547) is a Christian saint, honored by the Roman Catholic Church as the patron saint of Europe and students. Sent to Rome for his studies, he gave up both of them and his career in the world, and retired to the solitude of Subiaco (town and comune in the Province of Rome, in Lazio, Italy). He founded there twelve monasteries, among them that of Monte Cassino (rocky hill about 130 km southeast of Rome, Italy), and wrote the Holy Rule which bears his name. He is revered as the Founder of the Benedictine Order. The Medal of St. Benedict can serve as a constant reminder of the need for us to take up our cross daily and “follow the true King, Christ our Lord,” and thus learn “to share in his heavenly kingdom,” as St. Benedict urges us in the Prolog of his Rule. A GUIDE FOR DAILY LIVING This rule of St. Benedict should be followed by all to guide us in our daily lives. Morals are the foundation upon which a country rises to great heights. Take away morals, and countries, leaders, and individuals fall. All should wear or carry the Medal Cross of St. Benedict – a most highly indulgenced and exorcised medal: On the front of the medal is St. Benedict holding a cross in his right hand – the object of his devotion – and in the left his rule for monasteries. In the back is a poisoned cup – in reference to the legend of Benedict – which explains that hostile monks attempted to poison him: the cup containing poisoned wine shattered when the saint made the sign of the cross over it (and a raven carried away a poisoned loaf of bread). Above the cup are the words CRUX SANCTI PATRIS BENEDICTI (“The Cross of our holy father Benedict”). Surrounding the figure of Saint Benedict are the words EIUS IN OBITU NOSTRO PRÆSENTIA MUNIAMUR! (“May we be strengthened by his presence in the hour of our death”), since he was always regarded by the Benedictines as the patron of a happy death. On the back is a cross, containing the letters C S S M L – N D S M D, initials of the words Crux sacra sit mihi lux! Nunquam draco sit mihi dux! (“May the holy cross be my light! May the dragon never be my overlord!”). At the top of the medal is the word PAX (“peace”). Surrounding the back of the medal are the letters V ·· R ·· S ·· N ·· S ·· M ·· V – S ·· M ·· Q ·· L ·· I ·· V ·· B, in reference to Vade retro satana: Vade retro Satana! Nunquam suade mihi vana! Sunt mala quæ libas. Ipse venena bibas! (“Begone Satan! Never tempt me with your vanities! What you offer me is evil. Drink the poison yourself!”) IT IS WRITTEN: Do all things with counsel, and thy deeds shall not bring thee repentance. (Jer. 30:19) – In the first place, to love the Lord God with all one’s heart, all one’s soul and all one’s strength. Then one’s neighbor as oneself. (Lk. 10:27) • Do not kill. • Do not commit adultery. • Do not steal. • Do not covet. • Do not bear false witness. • To honor all men. • Do not do to another what one would not have done to oneself. • Deny oneself, in order to follow Christ. • To chastise the body. • Not to seek soft living. • To love fasting. • To relieve the poor. • To clothe the naked. • To visit the sick. • To bury the dead. • To help the afflicted. • To console the sorrowing. • To avoid worldly conduct. • To prefer nothing to the love of Christ. • Not to yield to anger. • Not to nurse a grudge. • Not to hold guile in one’s heart. • Not to make a feigned, (false show of), peace. • Not to forsake charity. • Not to swear, lest perchance one forswear oneself. (to swear falsely). • To utter truth from heart and mouth. • Not to render evil for evil. • To do no wrong to anyone, and to bear patiently wrongs done to oneself. • To love one’s enemies. • Not to render cursing for cursing, but rather blessing. • To bear persecution for justice sake. • Not to be proud. • Not be a wine bibber (habitual drinker). • Not be a glutton. • Not be somnolent, (inclined to sleep). • Not be slothful. • Not be a grumbler or complainer. * Feast Days, or Holy Days, are days which are celebrated in commemoration of the sacred mysteries and events recorded in the history of our redemption, in memory of the Virgin Mother of Christ, or of His apostles, martyrs, and saints, by special services and rest from work.
  2. 2. • • • • • • • • • • Not be a detractor, (slanderer or false witness). To put ones hope in God. To attribute to God, and not to self, whatever good one sees in oneself. But to recognize always that the evil is one’s own doing, and to impute it to oneself. To fear the day of Judgment. To dread Hell. To keep constant guard over the actions of one’s life. To desire eternal life with all spiritual longing. To keep death daily before one’s eyes. To know for certain that God sees one everywhere. When evil thoughts come into one’s heart, to dash them at once on the rock of Christ and to manifest them to one’s spiritual advisor, (confessor). • To keep one’s mouth from evil and depraved talk. • Not to love much speaking. • Not to speak vain words or such as move to laughter. • To listen gladly to holy reading. • To apply oneself frequently to prayer. • Daily in one’s prayer, with tears and sighs, to confess one’s past sins to God. • To amend those sins for the future. • Not to fulfill the desires of the flesh. • To hate one’s own will. • To obey in all things the commands of the abbot, even though he himself, (which God forbid), should act otherwise, remembering the Lord’s precept: What they say, do ye, but what they do, do ye not. • Not to wish to be called holy before one is holy, but first to be holy, that one may more truly be called so. • To fulfill God’s commandments daily in one’s deeds. • To love chastity. • To hate no man. • Not to be jealous. • Not to give way to envy. • Not to love contention, (conflict). • To shun vainglory, (boastfulness). • To reverence the old. • To love the young. • To pray for one’s enemies in the love of Christ. • To make peace with one’s adversary before sundown. And never to despair of God’s Mercy. Behold, these are the tools of the spiritual craft. If we employ them unceasingly day and night, and on the day of Judgment render account of them, then we shall receive from the Lord in return that reward which He Himself has promised: Eye has not seen nor ear heard, what God hath prepared for those that love Him. Now the workshop, wherein we shall diligently execute all these tasks, is the enclosure of the monastery, (home, office, workplace, etc.), and our spiritual roots in the community. INTROIT LET US ALL rejoice in the Lord, celebrating a festival day in honor of Saint Benedict the Abbot, on whose solemnity the Angels rejoice and give praise to the Son of God. Great is the Lord and exceedingly to be praised, in the city of our God, on His holy mountain. Glory be to the father. (Ps. 47:2) COLLECT O ALMIGHTY AND ETERNAL GOD, Who didst on this day lead Thy most holy Confessor Benedict out of the prison of the flesh and raise him up to heaven, grant, w pray, the pardon of all sin to Thy servants who celebrate this feast, so that while with glad hearts they rejoice at his glory, they may also by his intercession havepart in his merits. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen. EPISTLE BEHOLD the great confessor who in his life propped up the house, and in his days fortified the temple. By him also the height of the temple was founded, the double building and the high walls of the temple. In his days the wells of water flowed out, and they were filled as the sea above measure. He took care of his nation, and delivered it from destruction. He prevailed to enlarge the city, and obtained glory in his conversation with the people: and enlarged the entrance of the house and the court. He shone in his days as the morning star in the midst of a cloud, and as the moon at the full. And as the sun when it shineth, so did he shine in the temple of God. And as the rainbow giving light in the bright clouds, and as the flower of roses in the days of the spring, and as the lilies that are on the brink of the water, and as the sweet smelling frankincense in the time of summer. As a bright fire, and frankincense burning in the fire. As a massy vessel of gold, adorned with every precious stone. As an olive tree budding forth, and a cypress tree rearing itself on high. About him was the ring of his brethren: and as the cedar planted in mount Libanus, so as branches of him, and all the sons of Aaron in their glory. (Ecclus. 50:111,13,14) GOSPEL Then Peter answering, said to him: Behold we have left all things, and have followed thee: what therefore shall we have? And Jesus said to them: Amen, I say to you, that you, who have followed me, in the regeneration, when the Son of man shall sit on the seat of his majesty, you also shall sit on twelve seats judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And every one that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall possess life everlasting. (Mt. 19:27-29)

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