July 11, 2006

Benedict of Nursia

Today we celebrate the feast of St. Benedict, the patriarch of western religious life. I couldn't resist posting my favorite part of Benedict's Rule:

On the proper amount of drink:

We read that monks should not drink wine at all, but because in our time the monks cannot be persuaded of this, let us at least agree to drink sparingly. (40:6)

Sometimes we have to be wary even of our ideals. The devil is perfectly happy to have us to be devout and idealistic, provided it can be done without God. When we lust after the self-satisfaction of being the idealists we want to be according to our own will, it is easy to forget the more subtle and hidden splendor of the living God.

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