February 3, 2012

On Silence and Prayer

St. Benedict delivering his Rule to St. Maurus and other monks
 Monastery of St. Gilles, Nimes

My previous post lead me to this one. This is just so that you can have a better sense of what The Rule of St. Benedict is all about. Enjoy and meditate:

Let us act in accordance with that saying of the Prophet; “I have said: I will keep my ways, that I offend not with my tongue. I have been watchful over my mouth: I held my peace and humbled myself, and was silent from speaking even good things.” If therefore, according to this saying of the Prophet we are at times to abstain, for silence sake, even from good talk, how much more ought we to refrain from evil words, on account of the penalty of sin. Therefore, because of the importance of silence, let leave to speak be seldom given, even to perfect disciples, although their words be of good and holy matters, tending unto edification; because it is written: “In much speaking, thou shalt not escape sin.” And in another place: “Death and life are in the hands of the tongue.” For it befitteth a master to speak and teach; and it beseemeth a disciple to hold his peace and listen.
If, therefore, anything must be asked of the Prior, let it be done with all fitting humility and the subjection of reverence. But as for buffoonery, idle words, or such as move to laughter, we utterly condemn and exclude them in all places, nor do we allow a disciple to open his mouth to five them utterance.

~ The Rule of St. Benedict, CHAPTER VI (Of Silence).

If, when we wish to make some suggestion to the powerful, we presume not to speak to them except with humility and reverence; with how much greater reason ought we to present our supplications in all humility and purity of devotion, to the Lord God of all things? And let us bear in mind, that we shall be heard, not for our many words, but for our purity of heart, and our penitential tears. Our prayer, therefore, ought to be short and pure, unless perchance it be prolonged by the inspiration of Diving Grace. Yet, let all prayer made in common be short, and when the sign has been given by the Prior, let all rise together.

~ The Rule of St. Benedict, CHAPTER XX (Of reverence at prayer).