Standing in reverence and awe

October 14, 2009

In Chaper 11 of the Rule of St Benedict the author presents a wonderful picture of the Liturgy of the Hours. There is great clarity and structure. Benedict is also practical and even includes a section on what happens if monks sleep late. 
There is also space for beauty in this chapter. The climax of the chapter seems to be when the Abbot reads the Gospel,”while all stand in reverence and awe.” There is a tangible quality to the silence that is being proposed here. It reminds me of the classic phrase from St Francis, “preach often and if necessary use words.” The loudest proclamation of self and consciousness can often be silence. Meditation is perhaps the profoundest action of the human heart. In eternity we are destined to simply stand in reverence and awe. Perhaps we should get used to it now!
Esther de Waal proposes the following questions to reflect on after reading Chapter 11 of the Rule of St Benedict:
  • Am I sufficiently grateful for life?
  • Is praise as central as it should be in my prayer?
  • Do I try to hold on to some sort of framework and structure in the pattern of my prayer?
  • Do I keep Sunday as a day apart, a day of celebration and thanksgiving which reminds me of the place of God in my life?

Taken from Life Giving Way: A Commentary on the Rule of St Benedict by Esther de Waal.



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