Preferring Nothing to Christ (1)


Listen carefully, my son, to the master’s instructions, and attend to them with the ear of your heart. This is advice from a father who loves you; welcome it and faithfully put it into practice.

It’s pretty hard to beat the opening sentences of the Rule of St Benedict. Like an overture giving the listener a taste of the main musical motifs of a work, St Benedict lays out the key themes in his vision of monastic life.

We begin the Rule with an invitation to be open in every sense of the word. We are invited to open the ear of our hearts and to listen at the very core of our being to St Benedict’s teaching. Every sentence is crafted in love.

St Benedict hopes that his words will find a home in us. He hopes that his vision will so inspire us that we are prompted to action. A stirring in the heart and an action always go together for St Benedict.

At the outset of the monastic journey the most important disposition we can have is one of listening like a disciple.

Use this text for reflection during the next few days:

The Lord has given me a disciple’s tongue. So that I may know how to reply to the wearied he provides me with speech. Each morning he wakes me to hear, to listen like a disciple. (Isaiah 50.4)

How does God speak to you?
What do you hear?