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August 5, 2013

Benedictine Vows (Part 1 of 3)

After a year of discerning one's vocation in the Novitiate, a Benedictine Monk Professes Three Vows: Obedience, Conversion of Life, and Stability.  I hope to offer a separate reflection on each of these vows; today we will begin with the vow of "Obedience" by which a monk strives to hear and obey the Word of God in the person of the Abbot.  Below is a passage taken from Thomas A. Kempis' spiritual masterpiece, The Imitation of Christ.        


Thomas A. Kempis
To be obedient, to live under a superior - not seeking our own will - is great virtue.  It is safer to obey orders than to give them.  Many obey more out of necessity than for Charity's sake.  These find it burdensome and complain easily; but they will never have liberty of spirit until they submit wholly to authority for the love of God.  

Go where you will, but you will never find rest except in humble obedience to the rule of your superior. Many are deceived by thinking that a change of location will solve their difficulties.

In reality, all of us are inclined to do our own will and agree more readily with those who hold with our views.  But if we want to have the presence of God among us, then we must be willing to give up our own way in order to live in love and harmony with others.  Surely there are no persons so wise that they know everything.

Therefore, listen to the opinions of others and do not trust too much in your own point of view.  Perhaps you are right, but by setting aside your own will and following another out of love for God, you will profit by it.

I have often heard it said that it is surer to take advice than to give it!  It is good to listen to every person's advice; but when it is sound, to disagree is sheer stubbornness.  

Pax et Gaudium

O.S.B. Vocation Awareness

O.S.B. Vocation Awareness