Proverbs 2:1-9; Psalm 33(34):2-11; Matthew 19:27-29
Every summer, starting with the Feast day, I read the rule of St Benedict. I have an 'explained' version by Cary-Elwes and Wybourne. The Rule of St Benedict for Lay People gives insights into how this ancient rule, adopted as a way of life by most western monastic orders, is a good guide to christian life for us all.
Recently we have been travelling through a synodal process, of listening to each other, discovering how our differences are often our strengths as a Catholic community. The rule of St Benedict's very first word is 'Listen'.
"Listen carefully my child, to the teaching of the master and bend close the ear of your heart. Readily accept the advice of your loving Father and faithfully put it into practice, that by the labour of obedience you may make your way back to him from whom you have strayed."
One might immediately think the word 'obedience' is highly anti-synodal and echoes to us thoughts of magisterium, clericalism or even 'pray, pay and obey' as that notorious and out of date guidance for laity had it. But far from it: Benedict explains that it is through obedience to God that freedom lies. "All valuable obedience is to God, but brought to us through many streams: conscience, scripture, the church, circumstances of life, a rule of life" [Cary-Elwis]. To be obedient to God we have to listen to God - however God chooses to speak to us, so being awake and ready to hear God is an essential first step. Even Jesus, who was, is and ever will be God, chose to make himself obedient to Gods' the Father's wish - "Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass my lips: but let it be done according to your Word". [Matt 26:39].
So this summer I shall once again open each day with a word from the Rule, and try to be prepared to listen.