First of all to love the Lord God with one’s whole heart, whole soul, whole strength (Rule of Benedict 4.1)
Love for God is the first tool in Saint Benedict’s toolbox.
Nothing held back,
He means it.
“You won’t have even your body at your own disposal,” he warns the novice signing her vows on the altar.
No lesser love survives the abrasions of community life. Accidental offenses: those I receive and those I commit. Routines. Hard work. Someone who needs attention when I need sleep.
No lesser love corresponds to God’s tender mercy that drew me here, sustains me, and guides me day by day. Love received, love returned, love passed on: Benedict’s first tool.