The Rule of St. Benedict: Chapter 4 pt. 2
In this portion of chapter 4, St. Benedict casts a vision of a human heart bereft of violence, defensiveness, and self-importance. This is no easy ideal to fulfill. It requires courage to lay down my defenses, give up "being right," and entrust my worth to God. It requires generosity of spirit and vulnerability. It is the heart of Christ.
The thing is, instilling these qualities into my being is not a matter of trying to do or trying not do all the things on the list, checking them off, one by one, from 22 to 43. Such an approach would only serve to enshrine my false self that operates along the lines of success and failure, good and bad, in and out.
This vision must be viewed with the eyes of my true self, with my inner sight. In other words, it must be seen through the clear, quiet lens of regular, daily prayer. It is through prayer that I am able to attend to the contours of my emotions and desires. Through prayer I can witness anger lying in wait; I can observe the deceit that I have entertained; I am able to identify the falseness of peace that I have given. Through prayer I open myself to grace and welcome the qualities of hope in God, truth speaking, and love of enemies.
Chapter 4 is about awareness and attention to those things that comprise our response to the world around us. Like a master gardener, our Father Benedict knows what to remove and what to nurture as we grow into the fullness of Christ.