The Rule of Saint Benedict chapter 72

Carisma 22

 

The penultimate chapter of the Rule of St. Benedict speaks about the importance of having the right kind of zeal and being supportive of one's community. Bad zeal is bitterness and envy which leads us astray. Bad zeal may also be selfishness or indifference. Good zeal is enthusiasm, goodwill and cooperation. We can show good zeal by being obedient not only to our superior and to God but also to each other. One must be passionate and supportive to those around you, striving for shared obedience: "Supporting with great patience one another's physical or moral weaknesses, Lending themselves to competition in mutual obedience" (lines 5-6). Just as one needs to put God before everything else, one should also never act only for personal benefit but aim to make decisions that are to the benefit of everyone: "No one is to pursue what he judges useful for himself, but rather what he judges better for others" (line 7).
Chapter/Rule 72: Of the good zeal that monks should have (12 lines total)
1. Just as there is a wicked zeal of bitterness which distances one from God and leads to hell,
2. So there is a good zeal , which distances one from evil and leads to God and eternal life.
3. It's therefore in this good zeal which monks must foster with ardent love:
4. They prevent each other in honor;
5. Supporting with great patience one another's physical or moral weaknesses;
6. Lending themselves to competition in mutual obedience;
7. No one is to pursue what he judges useful for himself, but rather what he judges better for others;
8. One loves all of his fellow monks as brothers;
9. They fear God in their love;
10. They love their abbot, with sincerity and humble charity.
11. They prefer absolutely nothing but Christ,
12. Who brings us all together to everlasting life.