Actions not words

English: Illustration of Petrarch's Triumph of...
English: Illustration of Petrarch’s Triumph of Chastity. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“To daily fulfill in one’s actions
the precepts of God;
to love chastity.”
(Rule of Benedict 4.63-64)

Organizations promote training to boost team spirit, reduce conflict, improve communication, or increase appreciation of diversity. Workers willingly adopt the ideas and language, but lasting change rarely occurs.

StBenedict’s plan of action is different. The measure is daily action, not ready acceptance of God’s precepts; he lists several. “Show me your generosity, your calm temper,” he seems to say.

The secular world sees chastity as repressive hindrance rather than spiritual practice to “maintain the integrity of the powers of life and love.” Benedictine life is “an apprenticeship in self-mastery”1 embraced willingly, able to love the limits that give us freedom.

1 Catechism of the Catholic Church §2334

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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