Learning from the Dog and St Benedict

A sleeping Fauve
A sleeping Fauve

Early this morning I went into the room where our Basset Fauve de Bretagne (Bro Dyfrig BFdeB on Twitter) sleeps. He may have registered my presence vaguely, but there was no wag of the tail to indicate that he had done so. He just went on sleeping, trusting that my purposes were honourable and food not involved. Wise dog!

Trust often seems in short supply these days. We have all been let down by others at times, sometimes hugely. Even more painful, I’d say, is the knowledge that we ourselves have let others down. With so many challenges on the political landscape — a pandemic, Brexit, a presidential election in the U.S.A., growing concerns about human rights and personal freedoms in many countries of the world — it can be tempting to become cynical, to adopt disbelief as our customary attitude, to trust no-one. The trouble is, cynicism rarely achieves anything positive.

The best antidote to cynicism I know is to be found in the twelfth step of humility, which we read in the Rule of St Benedict today (RB 7. 62–70). It isn’t just for monastics. It reminds us that hope is real, transformation possible, and ultimately God is in charge. Our sleeping dog is a good Benedictine — his trust is perfect. How about yours and mine?

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3 thoughts on “Learning from the Dog and St Benedict”

  1. I used to be very trusting as a child. The experiences, awareness and responsibilities of life have shaved a lot of trust away. There are a few people who I can trust, shining lights in my path of life.

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  2. A wise post-abuse counsellor taught me that trust takes time. Often when we get hurt as adults, it is because we have trusted a “new friend” too soon. Childhood betrayals from those who should have loved us best of course leave deep wounds which take work and patience to heal. But we do ourselves a favour if we do not trust too quickly when we first meet someone. It takes a good two years to get to know someone well.

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