Consolation

To console the sorrowful (Rule of Benedict 4.19)

Montecassino: death of St. Scholastica

Montecassino: death of St. Scholastica (Photo credit: Edith OSB)

This instruction, found amid familiar Scriptural commands, is unique to StBenedict. After charging his monks to meet people’s practical needs, he tells them what to do if no material assistance is possible: console them.

Consolation (Latin consōlārī, being with to soothe)  relieves sorrow by sharing it.  It requires generosity, a strong heart, and willingness to get involved.To the pragmatic, consolation may look pointless.

People experiencing tragedy or facing the unknown are often left alone: we don’t know what to say.  Anyone who stops to talk, or just to sit, shares – and divides – the sorrow. Truly a good work.


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

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About Sister Edith

Benedictine sister of St. Scholastica Monastery, Duluth, Minnesota
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