Don’t fool yourself…

Not to cling to deceit within the heart… (Rule of Benedict 4.24)

Lies to Me
Lies to Me (Image: Wikipedia)

He just advised against storing up anger. Now StBenedict adds, “And do not fool yourself about it either.” 

There is some deception for personal gain – embezzlement, price gouging, falsified data. Much more common are the false pictures we paint of ourselves: inflated images of our good deeds, miniature editions of our sins, and magnified distortions of injustices done to us.   

Perhaps our anger flares when the light of insight threatens these precious but false images of ourselves and others to which we cling. “If you want to do good,” StBenedict says, “you’ll have to just let them go.”

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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    • StBenedict only wrote one work, his Rule, that guided a group of people who wanted to live the monastic life in community, so he doesn’t write a LOT about anything.

      He presumed that his monks were already reading the major works of ancient monasticism (eg, John Cassian’s Institutes and Conferences, which he specifically mentions in his Rule) – so we use his method of lectio divina on the Rule and read those works too. He did not, like Ignatius of Loyola, write specific guidelines about the discernment of spirits.

      One of the best modern works on discernment in the tradition of the ancient monastics came out last year by Sister Mary Margaret Funk, called Discernment Matters (fifth in her series of “….Matters” books. You can see it at

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