Having then, brethren, asked the Lord who it is that shall dwell in His tabernacle, we have heard what He commands to those who wish to dwell there; and if we fulfill those commands, we shall be heirs of the kingdom of heaven.
Therefore, our hearts and our bodies must be prepared to fight under holy obedience to His commands; and let us beg of God to supply by the help of His grace that which by nature is lacking to us. And if we desire to escape the pains of hell and to attain to life everlasting, let us, whilst there is yet time, and we abide in this body, and are able to fulfill all these things by this way of light, let us, I say, do with speed now that which will profit us for all eternity.
We have, therefore, to establish a school of the Lord’s service, in the institution of which we hope to ordain nothing that is harsh or difficult. But if anything somewhat severe be laid down, as reason may dictate, in order to amend faults or preserve charity, do not straightway depart full of fear from the way of salvation, which way cannot be entered upon except by beginnings which are difficult. But when one shall have advanced in this manner of life and in faith, he shall run with his heart expanded by the unspeakable sweetness of love on the way of God’s commandments. Thus, never departing from His guidance, but persevering in His teaching in the monastery until death, we may by patience share in the sufferings of Christ, that we may merit to be partakers of His kingdom. —The Rule of St. Benedict, Prologue
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