Expanding the Heart

Rule of St. Benedict

“For as we advance in the religious life and in faith, our hearts expand and we run the way of God’s commandments with unspeakable sweetness of love”  (St. Benedict’s Rule for Monasteries, p.5).

Once again, St. Benedict gives us some words that should set off a spark within our souls.  “Advance.”  “Our hearts expand.”  “We run the way of God’s commandments.”  “Unspeakable sweetness of love.”   Either St. Benedict did not know how to avoid being redundant, or he knew that he could not repeat it enough.  I tend to think the latter is more accurate.

It is much too easy to become too comfortable or satisfied with where we are in our spiritual life.  We go to Mass.  We pray our Offices.  We spend time in Lectio Divina.  We can do all of these things and still miss the most important part.

“Clearly, great pursuers of the spiritual life know that the secret of the spiritual life is to live it until it becomes real” (Sr. Joan Chittister, OSB.  The Rule of Benedict: A Spirituality for the 21st Century., p.22).

All that we do in the spiritual life can become an abstraction, unless we allow the Holy Spirit to ignite in us the fire of living the Gospel.  We will know that “unspeakable sweetness of love” as we “run the way of God’s commandments” in so far as, we allow the Spirit to transform us.  When we ponder the Word of God as Mary did, and say yes as Mary did; Christ will again become visible to the world through us.


Br. Anselm Philip King-Lowe, n/OSB

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