Readings for Benedict of Nursia 540
“Do all things without murmuring and arguing” (Philippians 2:14)
Today we remember Benedict of Nursia, considered to be the Father of Western Monasticism. Benedict’s day seems to have moved. I remember it being in July. Having said that I can remember our studies in Seminary. It was late one night as we were all getting ready of bed and we were thinking about theRules at Virginia Episcopal Seminary. Some of the “thinking” was made manifest in complaining. As we had been studying a booklet on Benedict’s Rule that morning, one of us reminded the rest of us that “there shall be no murmuring.” We all laughed and went on to our respective rooms quietly. The quote from Philippians above reminded me of that night.
Benedict was born at Nursia (Norcia) in Umbria, Italy, around 480 AD. He was sent to Rome for his studies, but was repelled by the dissolute life of most of the populace, and withdrew to a solitary life at Subiaco. He withdrew to a cave where, according to some reports where there was at least one other man already there, where he studied and (I might add) pondered. He soon attracted other men to follow in his path of solitude and prayer. This led to the order he created with vows and most famously, The Rule, that assisted in maintaining the order.
A Benedictine monk takes vows of “obedience, stability, and amendment of life.” The Benedictine monk promises to obey the abbot, to remain in the order and to the amendment of life to that of piety, prayer and work. An average day includes about four hours to be spent in liturgical prayer, five hours in spiritual reading and study, six hours of labor, one hour for eating, and about eight hours for sleep. The Book of Psalms is to be recited in its entirety every week as a part of the Office.
I think what I really like (the take-away) is the idea that we are not to murmur, or complain about life in the vocations we have chosen. Too many of us today fuss about every little inconvenience. We have to learn to accept and deal with inconvenience from time to time. I have learned that come inconvenience turns out to be unexpected opportunity.
Let us hear what the Spirit is saying through and to God’s people and “Ponder anew what the Almighty can do.” John Thomas Frazier Sr.