Not to swear lest you swear falsely;
to bring forth the truth from heart and mouth.
(cf Matt 5:34 & 33; Rule of Benedict 4.27-28)
Why make vows or swear oaths?
- To increase our credibility?
- To make ourselves accountable, legally and morally, for our words?
StBenedict raises the risk of swearing falsely. We don’t know all the facts. We promise more than we can do. Is our other speech false? He counsels humility.
His second instruction pushes us beyond the surface truth, beyond the details of who said what or did which action. If we listen for and speak the deeper truth of the heart, we have no need of oaths. We may also lose some of our need for arguments.
Tooling Through Lent is a series of brief reflections on Chapter 4 of the Rule of Benedict, The Tools for Good Works.