School of the Lord’s Service

We reach the end of the prologue to St Benedict’s Rule today (RB Prol. 45 to 50: you can listen to the daily portion of RB read in English on our main web site, here). The words are so familiar they sometimes lose their edge, yet this dominici scola servitii is constantly presenting us with new challenges because its favourite teaching methods are suffering and patience. No one ‘likes’ suffering; no one ‘likes’ being patient; but if we are to lay ourselves open to the mystery of God, there is no alternative.

Suffering can make us bitter and self-absorbed. Benedict, however, is much more sanguine about human nature. He expects that  instead of our closing in on ourselves, we shall open out, become big-hearted (quite literally — dilatato corde) and ‘run on the way of God’s commandments with a sweetness of love beyond all telling’ (inennarrabili dilectionis dulcedine curritur via mandatorum Dei). However familiar the words may become, the lesson must always be learned anew, for our hope is not for this world only. We have our hearts set on Christ and his Kingdom.

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4 thoughts on “School of the Lord’s Service”

  1. Dilatato corde _ now **that** is a New Year’s resolution. Gretings from India, where “d.c.” is an imperative if one is to (a) survive , (b) enjoy and (c) learn from the onslaught of impressions one is exposed to every day. I am currently reading the writings of your Benedictine brother Dom Henri Le Saux OSB who lived “dilatato corde ” in this country to the very extremes.

    I continue to pray for you and your community, may 2012 see you happily settled in whatever God’s plan is for you.

  2. As you say, no one likes suffering but I think it teaches us more about ourselves than just getting by with no challenges in life.

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