Purpose of the Tool: To take some time to read the Rule in a way that brings it more personally to you, especially if you are outside a monastic community and, through this practice, to discover the many ways Benedict gives you to prefer nothing but Christ.
Background on the Tool: In my article “Preferring Nothing Whatever to Christ” I addressed how reading the Rule in a personalized manner can strengthen its message, meaning and relevance for us so that we can bring Benedict’s teachings more easily into our everyday lives. If you would like to read the article (Sure hope you do!) and then return to this Tool, please click here.
For this tool, use your own copy of The Rule of St. Benedict or access an on-line version by clicking here.
Some parts of the Rule are already very personalized such as Chapter 4 – The Tools for Good Works. Make this chapter your first stop in reading about ways that you can live preferring Christ over all else. Each “tool” asks you to set your personal desires aside for a greater good, for Christ’s good and love. Read the chapter. Over time intentionally “practice” each.
Next, explore other parts of the Rule reading them as written directly to you and personalizing them as I did in the article “Preferring Nothing Whatever to Christ.” Some suggested chapters follow:
5 – Obedience
7 – Humility
31 – Qualifications of the Monastery Cellarer
34 – Distribution According to Need
46 – Faults Committed in Other Matters
45 – Mistakes in the Oratory (at church)
53 – The Reception of Guests
64 – Election of an Abbot or Prioress (think about where you lead – home, church work?)
66 – The Porter of the Monastery (be creative here. To whom are you porter?)
68 – Assignment of Impossible Tasks to [Me]
71 – Mutual Obedience
72 – The Good Zeal of Monks
Let us prefer nothing whatever to Christ
© June 2014 The Rev. Dr. Jane A. Tomaine