Commentary on the Gospel of

Angela Maynard-Creighton University's Student Health Services
Memorial of Saint Benedict, Abbot

This is a special reflection for me to do.  Last fall, I witnessed a young man who I have known since he was in about second grade enter the Benedictine order.  When I saw that today is the memorial of St. Benedict, I took it as a great opportunity to learn more about this saint.  I enjoy learning about the saints, and I’m not sure why I don’t know more about St. Benedict.  Essentially, Benedict was a monk who spent a great deal of time learning more about monks by living with them, and reading about them.  He was very involved in monastic life, and tried to take it to different levels.  He is best known for his writing of the Rule—that became known as the Rule of Benedict. The rule of Benedict is still used in some monasteries and convents around the globe today. The Rule described how to live in community.  It establishes a way of life rooted in the Gospel and grounded in the scriptural principles of charity, humility, stability, and faithfulness.  The spirit of St. Benedict's Rule is summed up in the motto of the Benedictine confederation: pax (peace) and the traditional ora et labora  (pray and work). Peace, pray and work—these elements go well together.

This information about St. Benedict has some parallels to today’s reading.  Benedict is credited with the founding of twelve monasteries made up of twelve monks each in the area south of Rome.  Jesus chose twelve apostles.  In today’s gospel he names them, and sends them forth to teach, to heal and to clean.  The apostles were simple fishermen who happened to follow Jesus…most of the time. 

As I reflected on these concepts, I kept going back to the young man who I watched grow up.  He is an ordinary boy, who gave his parents a few gray hairs.  It is really neat to look back on the path that lead him to his calling to be a Benedictine monk.  I’d like to say that he really didn’t’ have a handbook that told him what to do and what his next steps would be.  As parents, we joke that we really didn’t get an instruction manual with our children. Did the apostles have a handbook? If you think about it, the apostles had the best kind of guide — they lived with him.  His name was Jesus, and there are four gospels written about him.  My young monk has an instruction book at his disposal, it’s called St. Benedict’s rule.  It, too, is rooted in the gospels.

For today, take some time to think about what OUR rule might look like.  Life according to me …

Consider:

What is important to me?

How do I spend my time?

Do my actions impact anybody, and if so, how?

What does God want from me—what is my purpose?

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