Tuesday, January 8, 2013

the Rule of St Benedict: On Reverence in Prayer


When we wish to suggest our wants to persons of high station, we do not presume to do so except with humility and reverence. How much the more, then, are complete humility and pure devotion necessary in supplication of the Lord who is God of the universe! And let us be assured that it is not in saying a great deal that we shall be heard (Matt 6:7), but in purity of heart and in tears of compunction. Our prayer, therefore, ought to be short and pure, unless it happens to be prolonged by an inspiration of divine grace. In community, however, let prayer be very short, and when the Superior gives the signal let all rise together.from Chapter 20 of the Rule of St Benedict

One of the items under the tree for me this Christmas was a copy of The Glenstal Book of Prayer. I'm finding it a slim but compelling volume. It includes some selections from the Rule of St Benedict for daily reading. The chapter above at first glance might seem to apply only to those living in community ... but then, don't most people live in some form of community? A family is a community after all ... so perhaps the piece below has a wider application than one might first think ... I used this chapter today as a short reflection when leading a small group of local clergy in mid-morning prayer ... they certainly appreciated the fact that I took heed of the advice to keep prayer in community short!

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