Today’s Gospel: Matthew 10:7-15 – Memorial of St. Benedict
On this feast of St. Benedict, today’s Gospel reading reflects well his Rule set out for monks (eventually including nuns, and followed by oblates). We read in Matthew 10:7-15 about the gift we’ve received to be given as gift to others, a basic precept for all Christian communities; that those who live by the Rule are to rely on Providence for their needs as they work for the glory of God; and about stability in a blessed place and to move on if it is not.
The Benedictine motto is Ora et Labora, to pray and work, which in practice is to seek God in all endeavors of any labor. To pray is to be open to the movements of the Holy Spirit and wisdom. The Benedictines were writers of manuscripts, and developed horticulture. Royalty and prosperous land holders who sought knowledge would come to the monasteries to be taught. The monks needed to be as “clever as snakes and as innocent as doves” especially the Abbot, who if lacking savvy and offended any of the visitors, could result in disaster for the religious community.
In the Rule, St. Benedict made it clear that the monks are to utilize their gifts in service to others — within their communities and beyond them. Benedict did not distinguish the types of gifts given from God, for all have some gift to share (Romans 12:6).
A recent Benedictine movement is to express one’s gifts within small communities. In Building the Benedict Option, the author, Leah Libresco, shares how to be what we are made to be: channels of grace. A channel must be open at both ends, so Libresco’s focus is on being open to God (in private prayer) and to others (by opening one’s home and praying with others).
In this way of small communities acting together, the ease of living out the Rule of St. Benedict is made possible, and we can express the second motto of the Rule, “that in all things may God be glorified.”
In what way can I follow the Gospel teaching of sharing my gifts, being an instrument of good works, and relying more fully on God to lead the way?
Lord, help me to always imagine You beside me as I move through my days, to seek Your will in all the things I do, and to hold myself for Your glory above the temptations of the world. Amen.
Copyright 2019 Margaret Rose Realy, Obl. OSB
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