Prologue To the Rule of St. Benedict
Section 2 Verses 3 and 7
To you, therefore, my words are now addressed, whoever you may be, who are renouncing your own will to do battle under the Lord Christ, the true King, and are taking up the strong, bright weapons of obedience. And first of all, whatever good work you begin to do, beg of Him with most earnest prayer to perfect it, that He who has now deigned to count us among His sons may not at any time be grieved by our evil deeds. For we must always so serve Him with the good things He has given us, that He will never as an angry Father disinherit His children, nor ever as a dread Lord, provoked by our evil actions, deliver us to everlasting punishment as wicked servants who would not follow Him to glory.
To you, therefore, my words are now addressed, whoever you may be, who are renouncing your own will to do battle under the Lord Christ, the true King, and are taking up the strong, bright weapons of obedience.
- The antidote to our tendency to follow our own desires rather than obey God is to fall in behind Christ the King, and live an uncompromising disciplined life in His service.
The New Testament provides us with a very clear model in strong military metaphors.
Ephesians 6: 10 — 17
1 Thessalonians 5: 8
1 Timothy 1: 18 and 6: 12
2 Timothy 2: 3 — 4
This might all sound a bit heavy, but that’s how seriously the first Christians took being a disciple of Christ.
- An increasing number of Christians are, for a number of reasons, pulling back from using such references as, “the Lord Christ” or “the true King”.
- Critics will wax eloquent about why the concept or model of a “king” is not relevant to modern thinking.
- To call Christ the “true King” is to ascribe to Him a class of ruler He seemed (on Scriptural evidence only) to strive openly to resist.
- And further, to emphasise that He is the true King is to demean other religious leaders or at least to hint they may be false or inferior.
- Traditional Catholics, and indeed traditional Protestants however continue to ascribe this honour and title to Jesus and to revere Him as the unique Son of God.
He is Christ our King!
Spiritual Warfare is not for casual dabbling in or meddling with. It requires a strong leader — which we have in Christ our King — and strong bright weapons of obedience. We need to be clear about what these are.
And first of all, whatever good work you begin to do, beg of Him with most earnest prayer to perfect it,……….would not follow Him to glory”.
If Christ is our King, then earnest prayer is the first weapon of spiritual warfare. This is not anxious prayer, thumping the gates of Heaven with a long “shopping list” of requests — or even less, a wish list. Earnest prayer is the prayer of the earnest soldier who commends everything to God:
— first, that it be good, i.e. godly, i.e. in harmony with God’s will, and
— secondly, that, with God’s blessing it will be “perfected”, i.e. brought to proper completion and thus be pleasing to Him.
- Our “good works” include among other things:—
— the Christian living of each day
— the rhythm of prayer throughout the day
— engagement in the humble routine tasks of the day.
Thus prayer and work go hand in hand.
- Inherent in the call to Christ’s service is the undertaking on our part to keep focused, avoid distraction as best we can, and act the way sons and daughters of God should.
- Our Lord did not pander to the crowd. He painted vivid pictures of the outcomes of our daily choices which showed God disinheriting those who were careless and weak in their commitment, or leading those who were earnest and loyal in following Christ to glory.
7. From the foundation of the Church, Christians have organised themselves into highly disciplined and focused communities. Church membership was not a casual or light-hearted flimsy association, but methodical, precise, defined, and closely regulated. Sound growth requires this to be the case today as well as in any previous era.
8. Traditional Christians hold Jesus Christ to be their King and act accordingly. Interestingly in the ancient tradition, Mary, the mother of Jesus, was given the title queen by the early Christians, in view of the fact she was mother of the King. It was (and is) a way of reinforcing Christ’s title.
9. If prayer is the first weapon of spiritual warfare, it also has first priority for members of Christ’s Body, the Church. This priority will need to be reflected in the day-to-day living of each member. Most of us find this difficult and need assistance with both developing a realistic, sustainable rhythm as well as choosing appropriate prayers and devotions. Elsewhere, in this site, we offer a little support to help in this area of need.