Memory of the Church

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Feast of Saint Benedict (†547), father of western monks and their guide through the rule that carries his name.


Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

I am the good shepherd,
my sheep listen to my voice,
and they become
one flock and one fold.
.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Proverbs 2,1-9

My child, if you take my words to heart, if you set store by my commandments, tuning your ear to wisdom, tuning your heart to understanding, yes, if your plea is for clear perception, if you cry out for understanding, if you look for it as though for silver, search for it as though for buried treasure, then you will understand what the fear of Yahweh is, and discover the knowledge of God. For Yahweh himself is giver of wisdom, from his mouth issue knowledge and understanding. He reserves his advice for the honest, a shield to those whose ways are sound; he stands guard over the paths of equity, he keeps watch over the way of those faithful to him. Then you will understand uprightness, equity and fair dealing, the paths that lead to happiness.

 

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

I give you a new commandment,
that you love one another.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

There is a profound harmony between this passage from the book of Proverbs and the Rule of Saint Benedict, whose feast is today. Reflecting on these words helps us to meditate on where listening to the Word of God can lead. A monk, Benedict contested the society of the time in his own way, retiring into solitude to live in obedience to the Word of God. He said to his monks: "Absolutely nothing must be put before the love of Christ." From this obedience to the Word and to love, the experience of the monks was born, "a very strong kind of men," because they were disciples of a rule of life dictated by the Gospel. The Rule of Benedict says: "Listen oh son to the precepts of the teacher and bend the ear of your heart. Welcome willingly the exhortation of a father full of affection and put it in practice because through the effort of obedience you return to him from whom you had driven away from the inertia of disobedience." Obedience to the Word is not something natural but involves work, effort; in this regard the book of Proverbs says: "Making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; if you indeed cry out for insight, and raise your voice for understanding; if you seek it like silver, and search for it as for hidden treasures- then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding." Listening is almost described as something physical, between stretching the ear, "inclining the heart" and digging into the depth "as for the treasures," that is, in the heart. And with the Gospel we rediscover that this is the true wisdom of life: putting before all the love of Christ, living with the priority of loving as he loved us to the point of offering his life on the cross.