St. Benedict's rule


“Who is the man that wishes for life, and desires to see good days?” And if hearing this thou dost answer “I,” God then says to thee: “If thou dost wish for life true and eternal, refrain thy tongue from evil and let not thy lips speak guile. Turn aside from evil and do good; seek out peace and follow it. And when ye have done this, lo, My eyes are upon you and My ears open to your prayers. And before ye call, I will say, ‘Behold, I am here.’”

What, most dear brethren, could be more sweet to us than this voice of the Lord inviting us? Behold the Lord points out the way of life to us by His own fatherly affection.

Let our loins then be girt with faith and the observance of good works, and let us, gospel-led, pursue His paths, that we may be worthy to see Him Who has called us unto His own kingdom.

But if our wish be to have a dwelling-place in His kingdom, let us remember it can by nomeans be attained unless one run thither by good deeds. For, with the prophet, let us ask the Lord, saying to Him: “Lord, who will dwell in Thy tabernacle, and who will rest in Thy holy mount?” After putting this question, brethren, let us listen to our Lord showing us in answer the way to that same tabernacle by saying: “He who lives blamelessly and does justice; he who speaks truth from his heart; he who has kept his tongue from guile; he who has done his neighbour no evil and has accepted no slander against his neighbour”: he who has brought to naught the malignant slanderer the devil, rejecting from his heart’s thoughts him and his efforts to persuade him; and who has taken hold of his suggestions or ever they be come to maturity and has dashed them against the Rock which is Christ. Those who fear the Lord are not puffed up by their own good observance of rule, but reckoning that the good that is in them could not be wrought by themselves but by God, magnify the Lord working in them and say with the prophet: “Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but to Thy Name give glory.” Just as also the Apostle Paul attributed nothing to himself concerning his own preaching, but said: “By the grace of God, I am what I am.” And again the same Paul said: “He who glories, in the Lord let him glory.”