4. The Tools of Good Works

First of all, “to love” the Lord “your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.”

2 Then, “to love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matt 22:37-39; Mark 12:30-31; Luke 10:27; Deut 6:5; Lev 19:18)

Then, “not to kill.” (Exod 20:13-17; Deut 5:17-21)

“Not to commit adultery.”

“Not to steal.”

“Not to covet.”

“Not to bear false witness.” (Matt 19:18)

“To honor all people.” (1 Pet 2:17)

“Not to do to another what you do not want done to yourself.” (Tob 4:16; Matt 7:12; Luke 6:31)

10 “To deny yourself in order to follow Christ.” (Matt 16:24; Luke 9:23)

11 “To chastise the body.” (1 Cor 9:27)

12 Not to embrace pleasures.

13 To love fasting.

14 To give new life to the poor.

15 “To clothe the naked.”

16 “To visit the sick.” (Matt 25:36)

17 To bury the dead.

18 To bring help in time of trouble.

19 To console the sorrowing.

20 To make yourself a foreigner to the ways of the world.

21 To prefer nothing to the love of Christ.

22 Not to carry out your anger.

23 Not to seek an occasion for rage.

24 Not to hold deceit in your heart.

25 Not to give false peace.

26 Not to forsake love.

27 Not to swear lest perhaps you perjure yourself.

28 To bring forth truth from your heart and your mouth.

29 “Not to repay evil for evil.” (1 Thes 5:15; 1 Pet 3:9)

30 Not to do wrong, but also to suffer patiently what has been done.

31 “To love your enemies.” (Matt 5:44; Luke 6:27)

32 Not to return the curses of those who curse you, but rather to bless them all the more.

33 “To endure persecution for the sake of justice.” (Matt 5:10)

34 Not to be proud.

35 Not to drink to excess. (Titus 1:7; 1 Tim 3:3)

36 Not to eat to excess.

37 Not to be sleepy.

38 Not to be lazy. (Rom 12:11)

39 Not to be a murmurer.

40 Not to be a detractor.

41 To put your hope in God.

42 To attribute any good that you see in yourself to God and not to yourself.

43 Always to recognize the evil that you do, and to reckon it as your own.

44 To fear the Day of Judgment.

45 To be terrified of hell.

46 To desire everlasting life with all spiritual longing.

47 To keep death daily before your eyes.

48 To guard at all times the actions of your life.

49 To know for certain that God sees you in every place.

50 To dash against Christ your evil thoughts as soon as they come into your heart, and to reveal them to a spiritual senior.

51 To guard your mouth against evil and devious speech.

52 Not to love much talking.

53 Not to speak words that are vain or that give rise to laughter.

54 Not to love much or explosive laughter.

55 To listen willingly to holy reading.

56 To devote yourself frequently to prayer.

57 To confess the evil deeds of your past to God in prayer daily with tears and sighs.

58 To change these evil ways in the future.

59 “Not to carry out the desires of the flesh.” (Gal 5:16)

60 To hate self-will.

61 To obey the instructions of the abbot in all things, even though he himself, God forbid, should act otherwise, mindful of the Lord’s own teaching: “Do what they say; but do not do what they do.” (Matt 23:3)

62 Not to want to be called holy before you are, but first to be in truth what you would be called.

63 To fulfill the commandments of God daily by your deeds.

64 To love chastity.

65 To hate no one.

66 Not to harbor jealousy.

67 Not to act out of envy.

68 Not to love conflict.

69 To flee arrogance.

70 And also to revere the seniors.

71 To love the juniors.

72 To pray for your enemies for the love of Christ.

73 To return in peace to anyone with whom you have quarreled before the sun sets.

74 Never to despair of God’s mercy.

75 Behold, these are the tools of the spiritual craft. 76 If we have used them constantly, day and night, and return them on the Day of Judgment, we shall gain from the Lord that reward which he himself has promised:

77 Eye has not seen, nor ear heard
what God has prepared for those who love him. (1 Cor 2:9)

78 The workshop where we diligently work at all these things is surely the cloister of the monastery and stability in the community.


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The Rule of Benedict by Saint Meinrad Archabbey is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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