Water Mosaic echoes from home

pondering the mysteries, simplicity, and humor of life

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Rules, Rules, Rules

The other day I finished The Rule of St. Benedict for my Tuesday night class. After I finished it, I thought, "OK, but I'm no monk." Most of St. Benedict's words are about humility and having a peaceful heart, at least that's what my initial thoughts were. I didn't understand the chapters on "no joking" or "the disciplining of the monks in the monastery." Maybe I didn't put much contemplation in his writings but at first I just didn't get it. Lee Camp told us last week that we should read this as seeing his context and understanding the text in that light. As he said earlier, "We work by our own lights because that is the only light we have." (Had to be there in class).

Now I'm on Wisdom Distilled From The Daily: Living the Rule of St. Benedict Today by Joan Chittister, OSB. So far it is really speaking to me. Through her lens I think I'm beginning to "get it." She says that the Rule of St. Benedict is no "rule" at all, but simply a plan of life, a set of principles that directs our lives. The word rule, in its ancient sense, means "guidepost" or "railing." Something to hold on to in the dark, something to give direction, something to give us support as we climb. So my question is, what kind of "rule" do you live by?

As of now, I try and live by four simple precepts that I once heard from a wise journeyman.
1. I am incompetent
2. Be fully aware (to people in front of you and the Holy Spirit
3. See the Christ (in others)
4. Be the Christ (to others)