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Benedictine spirituality is practical and profound, never to be seen as a spirituality of escape. It fills time and space with the awareness of the presence of God, preferring nothing to the love of Christ. It encourages the joyful acceptance of the blessing of obedience, through the practice of fraternal charity and humility, seeking the continuous progression, conversion of life and authentic religious perfection.
"Listen ...", a typical biblical verb, found at the beginning of the Prologue to the Rule of Saint Benedict ("Ausculta, the filli, ..."), represents a door that opens in a persuasive invitation to the introduction of meekness. " "Listen, son ...", it is a son who must offer attentive and thirsty listening, to learn to live as a true son. He must bow the "ear of the heart," opening himself to the love of the Father, without timidity, without limits, without reservations.
As is well explained by Abbess Anna Maria Cànopi, OSB: "Jesus Christ, the divine incarnate meekness, is the textbook, never surpassed by the progress of human science, from which we must learn the science of life." He made himself meek and humble of heart to calm the rebels, leaving us this invitation echoing through the centuries. He himself declares to us, "Come to me, all you who are afflicted under the burden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and receive my doctrine, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my weight is light. "(Mt 11: 28-30).
Thus a disciple of St. Benedict is a humble, obedient soul who knows how to listen to God in the depths of his heart in the cultivation of silence. We can study the characteristics of Benedictine spirituality by praying with the Holy Rule.
The Rule of St. Benedict has often been referred to as a compendium of the Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Benedictine spirituality brings us the gift of Peace as the main characteristic of someone who runs his life longing to reach God. Much more than within the monasteries, Peace must be cultivated within each person, with a view to the perception and transmission of the living Christ Himself so that all may feel the presence of God and glorify Him.
One of the aspects that frighten at first sight those who are faced with Benedictine spirituality is its austerities, its discipline. However, such a start is due, in large part, to the difficulty of stripping oneself of the customs of the world, of the illusions that enchant beings in their mundane daily life. As we progress along the path of perfection proposed by St. Benedict, this apparent burden is more and more transformed into joyful freedom.
As Thomas Merton reminds us so, feeling free and spontaneous in life is fundamental, but this only occurs when, in fact, we know ourselves, in what we are and what we have to offer and that, as supply, is valid for building a better world. We need, therefore, to know and be, in fact, who we are essentially, to continue a lively and fruitful relationship with our neighbor, exercising our full freedom to experience our true essence, thus escaping from the lack of meaning, obsession, futility and the lies consolidated by superficial social relations. Thus, in order to be truly free, we must, first of all, meet, recognize ourselves, not in appearances or forms, but in essence. However, our true inner encounter is due to the relationship with our truth, stripped of everything the world wants us to be, everything that leads us to the forms of social acceptance, everything that has been added, over time, for others and for ourselves, so that we would have a prominent position in the world around us. Such a meeting, however, does not correspond to a rational, intellectual learning, but to the discovery of our inner self, which occurs with the death of the self of forms, constituted by all superfluous social relations and solicitations. It is the encounter with our true identity, our true "I", is the intimate relationship with the Creator, through the true encounter with his creature, because, in the depths of being, it is that He makes himself recognized. Only in this condition can there be a real fusion between Creator and creature, between God and man.
Another point of prominence in Benedictine spirituality is dedication to prayer, in the search not only of praying but of staying in prayer, of prayerful living. Benedictine prayer has several characteristics that do more for a spirituality of conscience than consolation. It is regular, convergent, reflective and communal. From these qualities, a new life arises. Prayer if it is lived so that we can see life as God sees it, is to understand it and improve it. To the true contemplative, everything is God, everything is prayer. The only way to pray is to pray and the way to pray well is to pray a lot.
Focuses on the three pillar is a basis for Benedictine spirituality, as Professor Fabiana Dantas points out: humility, obedience and silence. "By humility one obtains God's favor and progress on the path of salvation: by obedience one recognizes the lordship of Jesus and the will of God imprinted on his superiors who are his representatives and by silence it is possible to contemplate God, to be available and more attentive to the appeal of the Holy Spirit in the depths of our soul. "Silence or restriction of speech operates on many levels and is an act of discipline proper to spiritual art. It requires a state of tranquility that allows greater attention to the non-sensitive realities of the spiritual world. What is most interesting about Benedictine spirituality is that the model it presents is accessible to anyone, as long as one feels called to a deep communion with Christ. It is not restricted only to the traditional religious universe, because all are also called to be, every day, religious in the world.
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