We are ending this series almost a year to the day when we started it. We began Fridays with Benedict on December 28, 2012. We end today on December 27, 2013.
So what's in the last chapter of The Rule of St. Benedict?
Chapter 73 is entitled "This Rule Only a Beginning of Perfection."
Having come to the end of The Rule Benedict states that there are many other spiritual resources, outside of The Rule, that should be consulted for those seeking moral and spiritual transformation. Taking pride of place here is the bible itself. As Benedict writes, "What page, what passage of the inspired books of the Old and New Testaments is not the truest guides for human life?" All these resources--from the bible, to the The Rule to the writings of the church fathers--Benedict describes as "tools for the cultivation of virtues." Recall how Benedict described The Rule at the very start in Chapter 1. The Rule establishes a "school for the Lord's service."
And learning is a developmental process. We start in kindergarten and then move through elementary school, middle school and high school. We graduate and go to college. From there we can go to graduate school and get Masters or doctorate degrees.
Similarly, Benedict concludes The Rule by pointing out that our spiritual education also keeps on going, advancing and advancing. The Rule, thus, is just a start, just a beginning:
8Are you hastening toward your heavenly home? Then with Christ's help, keep this little rule that we have written for beginners. 9After that, you can set out for the loftier summits of the teaching and virtues we mentioned above, and under God's protection you will reach them. Amen.Those are the final words of The Rule of St. Benedict.
The semester is over.