St Benedict calling...

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Listen carefully, my child, 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.
The labor of obedience will bring you back to Him
from whom you had drifted through the sloth of disobedience.

This message of mine is for you, then,
if you are ready to give up your own will, once and for all,
and take up arms with the strong and noble weapons of obedience,
to do battle for your true King, Christ the Lord.

First of all, every time you begin a good work, you must pray to him most earnestly
to bring it to wholeness. In this goodness, he has already counted us as his children,
and therefore we should not grieve him by evil actions. With his good gifts which are in us,
we must obey him at all times, that he may never become an angry father who disinherits his children,
nor the dread lord with enkindled wrath, who sentences us as worthless servants,
for refusing to follow him to glory.

At long last, let us wake up, and arise,
for the Scriptures rouse us when they say:

Now it is high time to awake out of sleep.
Rom 13:11

Let us open our eyes to the light that comes from God,
and our ears to the voice from heaven
that every day calls out this charge:

Today, O that ye would hear his voice: 'Harden not your hearts.'
Ps 95:8

And again,

He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
Rev 2:7

And what does he say?

Come, ye children, and hearken unto me;
I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
Ps 34:11

Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you
John 12:35

Seeking his workman in a multitude of people,
the Lord calls out to him and lifts his voice again:

What man is he that desireth to live,
and would fain see good days?
Ps 34:12

If you hear this and your answer is "I do,"
God then directs these words to you:

Keep thy tongue from evil,
and thy lips, that they speak no guile.
Depart from evil, and do good;
seek peace, and pursue it.
Ps 34:13-14

Then shalt thou call,
and the LORD shall answer;
thou shalt cry,
and he shall say,Here I am.
Isa 58:9

What, dear children, is more delightful than this voice of the Lord calling to us?
See how the Lord in his love shows us the way of life.
Clothed, then, with faith, and the performance of good works, let us set out
on this way, with the Gospel for our guide, that we may see him who has called us
to his kingdom (1 Thess 2:12). If we wish to dwell in the tent of this kingdom, we will never arrive
unless we run there in gracious deeds.

But let us ask the Lord with the prophet:

LORD, who shall dwell in thy tabernacle?
or who shall rest upon thy holy hill?
Ps 15:1

After this question, children, let us listen well to what the Lord says in reply,
for he shows us the way to his tent:

Even he that leadeth an uncorrupt life,
and doeth the thing which is right,
and speaketh the truth from his heart.
He that hath used no deceit in his tongue,
nor done evil to his neighbour
and hath not slandered his neighbour.
Ps 15:3

He has foiled the evil one, the devil, at every turn,
flinging both him and his promptings far from the sight of his heart.
While these temptations were still young,
he caught hold of them and dashed them against Christ. (Ps15:4 & 137:9),

These people fear the Lord, and do not become elated over their good deeds;
they judge it is the Lord's power, not their own, that brings about the good in them.
They praise the Lord working in them, and say with the prophet:

Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us,
but unto thy name give the praise.
Ps 115:1

In just this way Paul the Apostle refused to take credit for the power
of his preaching. He declared:

But by the grace of God I am what I am.
1 Cor 15:10

And again he said:

But he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.
2 Cor 10:17

That is why the Lord says in the Gospel:

Therefore whoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them,
I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:
And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew,
and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.
Matt 7:24-25

With this conclusion, the Lord waits for us daily to translate into action,
as we should, his holy teachings. Therefore our life span has been lengthened,
by way of a truce, that we may amend our misdeeds. As the Apostle says:

Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering:
not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?
Rom 2:4

And indeed the Lord assures us in his love:

As I live, saith the Lord God,
I have no pleasure in the of the wicked;
but that the wicked turn from his way and live
Ezek 33:11

Children, now that we have asked the Lord who will dwell in his tent,
we have heard the instruction for dwelling in it, but only if we graciously fulfill
the obligations of those who live there. We must, then, prepare our hearts and bodies
for the battle of holy obedience to His instructions. What is not possible to us by nature,
let us ask the Lord to supply by the help of his grace.

When we wish to reach eternal life,and to avoid the torments of hell,
then - while there is still time, while we are in this body and have time
to accomplish all these things by the light of life -we must run and do now
what will profit us, forever.

Therefore we intend to establish a community for the Lord's service.
In drawing up its regulations, we hope to set down nothing harsh, nothing burdensome.
The good of all concerned, however, may prompt us to a little strictness in order
to amend faults and to safeguard love.

Do not be daunted, immediately, by fear and run away from the road
that leads to salvation. It is bound to be narrow at the outset. But as we progress
in his way of life, and in faith running on the path of God's commandments,
our hearts will overflow with the inexpressible delight and joy of love.
Never swerving from his instructions, then, but faithfully observing his teaching
in the practice of his Presence until , we shall, through patience,
share in the sufferings of Christ, that we may also share in his kingdom.

Amen

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