The Rule of St. Benedict: Chapter 71
In Gethsemane we witness Jesus fully owning his emotions and desires, bringing them before his Abba whom he trusts, and fully releasing them with the words, "yet, not what I want, but what you want."
Our Father Benedict teaches us in this chapter that the road of obedience brings us to God, and I perceive that the road of obedience Jesus walked in Gethsemane is the same road we all must walk among our own emotions and desires. It is a road from total ownership to complete release.
Benedictine obedience comes down the point at which we, in the thick of our emotions and desires submit to another. It is a painfully difficult practice. It requires the laying down of whatever story I tell myself that justifies my self-interested feelings and behavior. And at no time are my self-interested feelings more intense than when I am in conflict. Yet it is precisely at this point that our Father Benedict instructs us to face the matter head on, putting aside excuses or blame. He would have us to own and release our feelings of self-interest.
The next time you find yourself being offended, imagine extending a blessing rather than a rebuttal or a curse. Imagine seeking the place within yourself from which you can own your feelings, release them to God, and genuinely offer a blessing to the one who has offended you. And the next time you find yourself having given offense, imagine setting aside explanations and asking for unqualified forgiveness. Imagine seeking the place within yourself that you do not need to defend, that is safe enough with God that you are able to be wrong. This is the inner freedom that St. Benedict seeks to cultivate within us.