False Testimony

“…not to give false testimony (Rule of Benedict 4.7; cf Matt 19:18; Mark 10:19; Luke 18:20)…”

Mouth of Truth

Mouth of Truth in Rome. (Photo: Edith OSB)

Scripture guards truth with many commandments; StBenedict chose only one for his Rule.

He survived some monks’ attempt to poison him for strict leadership. “Why did you not tell me to go?” he asked. Their silent feigned obedience gave false witness as much as any words.

False testimony, spoken or silent, inserts untruth into the facts that are the basis for decisions.  It harms the one about whom the false story is told, but also corrodes the bonds of trust and justice within the community. StBenedict calls it a tool because no Good Works can flourish in poisoned soil.


Tooling Through Lent is a series of brief reflections on Chapter 4 of the Rule of BenedictThe Tools for Good Works.

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About Sister Edith

Benedictine sister of St. Scholastica Monastery, Duluth, Minnesota
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