Living the giving

St Benedict is speaking in Chapter 62 of priests in the monastery—for whom the grace conferred by ordination does sometimes seem to provide a larger target for temptations to self-aggrandizement—but there is a more widely applicable principle at work as well.

Consider, for a moment, if the class of “priest” were a stand-in for any other class of distinctive persons in the monastery—officeholders, left-handers, cooks, artists, those who know how to use Excel, or to program the telephone, and so forth.

None of these distinctions, however come by, however brilliant, allows any of us exemption from the directions of the rule. In the way of obedience to Jesus—for all this is merely our particular way of living out our baptismal promises to him—we are all equal under the eye of love. Our services for each other, even that of priest and of superior, are just that, for each other, for the building up of one another in love, following the one who came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life for love.

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