Using the Tools - Part I
Chapter 4 of the Rule of Our Holy Father Benedict lists a number of "tools" to help us live a more Gospel-centered/God-centered life. Tools are only a help though, if we put them to use.
The first tools that St. Benedict lists have to do with the Golden Rule and the Ten Commandments, the Corporal Works of Mercy, rounded out with other admonitions on how to live with/get along with others. Some might call it a simple list of dos and don'ts. Unfortunately, most of us have a problem with someone else suggesting how we are supposed to live -- God, at times, included.
Monastic life is a call to live the Christian life in a radical way. It calls us to love deeply, be extravant in sharing ourselves, to hold nothing back -- to give our all.
And like others, we do fall. Someone recently shared a story about a monastery in a city where everyone one wondered want on inside. As so one day one of the monks was out, and the people who encountered him on the street wondered if they dared ask. Finally someone got up the courage and approached the monk and inquired, "What's life like in the monastery?" His reply? "We fall down, and we get up. We fall down, and we get up. We fall down, and we get up."
But that's the Christian life. And that's why St. Benedict in his Rule, provided his monks with these first set of tools. So that we can learn how to live with one another better, how to love more generously, how to share ourselves.