Patience and Zeal

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Considering the Benedictine virtues of patience and zeal. These are not usually linked -- but a careful study of the Rule of St Benedict reveals the connection.

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Patience and Zeal

  1. 1. Patience and Zeal Duluth Benedictine Oblates St. Scholastica Monastery 15 December 2013
  2. 2. Böckmann’s method of marking the Rule http://www.aimintl.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=299&Ite mid=321&lang=en
  3. 3. Chapter 72: The Good Zeal that Monks Ought to Have
  4. 4. • In v2, “good zeal” puts us in motion but in v12 it is Christ • Verses 3 and 11 form a frame for verses 4-10; “zeal” has to do with love and persons, not with good practice • Verses 4-10 are like a poem about the monks;in Latin, the verbs end each phrase • Verse 7 almost doesn’t fit: it is a definition in the middle of these action words
  5. 5. Chapter 72: The Good Zeal that Monks Ought to Have
  6. 6. • Verses 1-3 correspond with Verses 11-12 to form the foundation: Christ is with us, and will lead to everlasting life. • Verses 4-6 and 8-10 describe the way of living in community, they give flesh to the foundation. • Verse 7 is the center, and is in some ways unlike the other verses (note it has little color)
  7. 7. Chapter 72: The Good Zeal that Monks Ought to Have
  8. 8. “Here a way is shown for everyone, which leads away from one's self and makes the other one's centre. It is a going-beyond-oneself, a transcending. The reaction of a novice, to whom I was trying to explain this verse, made me understand how radical it was. He turned pale and, when I asked if he felt ill, he replied: "There is absolutely nothing left for me anymore". Yes, exactly, it is that radical. Nothing for me, but everything is given to me as a gift. This means, according to the word of Jesus, to lose one's own life and to gain it ( Mk 8: 35 ff), or to die with him like the grain of wheat (John 12: 24). From Sr. Aquinata…
  9. 9. “I might, for all the good I do, end up as the focus, and want to prove myself by doing deeds of love. Here one will no longer measure the temperature of one's own good zeal, but forget one's self in reaching out for the good of the other.” I would call this verse Benedict's practical testament. He invites each one of his monks to judge and assess, in God's light, what is to the advantage of the other. This verse sets up a standard for the exercise of the other instruments; e.g.. reverence for each other, patience with each other, obedience to each other; in as much as it is for the other's good. It is also the criterion for the monastic virtues, like silence, asceticism and discipline within the community. ...” What does Good Zeal mean for St. Benedict? By Sr. Aquinata Böckmann, AIM Bulletin Volume 76 From Sr. Aquinata…
  10. 10. Verse 72 in The Rule • This is the summit of The Rule. Perhaps here Benedict has found his own self, a loving and fervent heart at whose center is Christ. • This also the height of intensity of The Rule in a quiet virtue of unconditional love that is totally oriented to Christ. • The Rule gives us three models for the way this zeal can work in us and through us
  11. 11. Hospitality as Evangelization • Hospitality, where respect, love and human concern and care can be shown to visitors. • Monastics are intent on what is useful to others, the guests, and offers a place for it to happen.
  12. 12. Evangelization in Dialogue • Listening to others, especially the poor • Giving a reply with gentleness that comes from zealous love • Benedict does not say the reply must be affirmative, but that it is given with consistent good zeal.
  13. 13. Obedience as Evangelization • Being sent (by the superior and the community) on an errand for the common good • Sustained by common liturgy • The mission is of the monastery, not the individual
  14. 14. Patience and Zeal Duluth Benedictine Oblates St. Scholastica Monastery 15 December 2013

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