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Monastic Tradition, as Promoted by Saints Benedict and Francis

In lieu of the perfection ascribed by the Lord Jesus Christ during His earthly ministry, particularly those pertaining to the codes of conduct that are necessary for a person to be aptly regarded as among His true followers, several standards had been instigated for this purpose. Two of these had been the The Rule of Saint Benedict and The Prayer of Saint Francis, which, as history has shown, are the two of the more significant codes that had influenced Christianity, specifically those who had opted to practice their faiths in the monastic discipline.

Based on these two readings, it is clear that they exhibit a diverse manner of practicing the Faith; wherein one is solely exclusive in nature, while the other is utterly inclined towards a society-based mission of service for his fellow men, as will be attempted to be discussed in this paper. The Essence of Monastic Living It is relevant to note that the intention of monastic tradition did not originate solely on human factors, rather, it is the collective objective of Christians, especially during the earlier centuries, to follow the path that Jesus traversed.

As the bible, through Jesus’ own teachings, was able to expressively preach the necessary considerations needed to attain His promise of salvation, these same teachings became the foundations for The Rule of Saint Benedict and The Prayer of Saint Francis. Primarily, monastic principles promote a life wherein ownership of any kind is discouraged. This may be based on several biblical accounts wherein Jesus himself, after a prosperous man sought His counsel on what else has he got to do to enter His kingdom as he had lived a righteous life, was asked to sell all his belongings and give all his possessions to the needy.

Likewise, this monastic way of life can be evidenced in Jesus’ instructions to His apostles, that when they are to leave a particular town after their ministry, they should not bring with them, nor receive, any material of any kind, except for the most basic of things, such as their garments and sandals. The basis of this precept can be founded on Acts 4:32, where it is stated, “Let not any man presume or call anything his own” (AUTHOR, YEAR, p. 245).

Comparison with Saint Francis’ Prayer Somewhat in contradiction to the strict monastic living promoted by the Rule of Saint Benedict, the prayer of Saint Francis is suggestive of engaging on an active Faith missions outside of the monastic confines. The very line that states “Where there is hatred let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon…and where there is sadness, joy” (AUTHOR, YEAR, p. 248), clearly promotes catechism in a socially-active environment.

More so, Saint Francis’ plea for God to make him an instrument of peace accentuates the argument on how can he be truly be made such an instrument if his catechistic mission were to be restrained to the exclusive confines of prayers. Hence, although exhibiting of similar objective, which is for the propagation of the Christian faith, these two readings aim to achieve this through different methodologies.

Conclusion The Rule of Saint Benedict, being a description of the regulations pertaining to the consequences of monks’ transgressions, and the The Prayer of Saint Francis, being essentially a human appeal for his creator to enable him to cause positive influences towards his society, had both proven their importance in the propagation of the Christian faith, especially during the church’s earlier centuries.

What is clear despite of the distinct characteristics each had exhibited is their similar intention to strengthen the resolve of the missionaries as they endeavor to preach the good news that Jesus Himself had presented us during His earthly ministry. Whether they have been truly successful or otherwise can be evidenced in the fruits of their sacrifices, particularly on the phenomenal global acceptance of Christianity in almost all of the nations in the world.

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