Tend the Knitting

St Benedict teaching

St Benedict teaching (Photo: Lawrence OP)

“To listen willingly to holy readings,
to prostrate frequently in prayer.”
(Rule of Benedict 4.55-56)

Sixth century monks had holy readings all day, in chapel and refectory. They sang the psalms with  pauses, often kneeling or prostrating in prayer.  So StBenedict’s focus in this instruction must be on “willingly” and “frequently.”

Holy readings and liturgical prayer can fade into life’s background, done regularly but with little awareness. Work, visitors, plans, events – changeable things – easily grab our attention.  “Tend to your knitting,” StBenedict says, “Listen with your heart! Participate!”

Benedictine living can transform hearts and brings us closer to God, but attendance is not enough. Monastic life is not a spectator sport.


Tooling Through Lent is a series of brief reflections on Chapter 4 of the Rule of Benedict, The Tools for Good Works.

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About Sister Edith

Benedictine sister of St. Scholastica Monastery, Duluth, Minnesota
This entry was posted in Benedictine, Lent, Rule of St Benedict and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Tend the Knitting

  1. Lora says:

    Thank you for the support, from the author of “The Benedictines and Me.” Your spiritual insights and principles inform my faith. Thank you.

  2. I’m (blessed to be) attending Matins at the Abbey during Lent and can relate to what you say. I have obtained a copy of the Patristic readings so I can re – view them during the day

    “Monastic (Oblate) life is not a spectator sport” Indeed!

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