A comparison between the works of Saint Francis and Saint Benedict Essay
A comparison between the works of Saint Francis and Saint Benedict
Christian Monasticism is a practice or mode of occupation carried out by individuals with the manifest intention of strengthening his faith in God by living alone or by living within a secluded congregation, with the main purpose of secluding oneself from society in order to serve God more. This practice is based on the teachings contained in the bible, more specifically the teachings of Christ and his disciples. This difficult profession brought about the rise of some orders or congregations that still exist as of he present time.
Christian Monasticism is best portrayed or depicted in two documents, namely: The prayer that was written by St. Francis of Assisi and The Rule book discussing how a monk should act by St. Benedict. I. Comparison of the two documents In examining the prayer penned down by Saint Francis, it is immediately discernible that the author is perpetually hungry for the opportunity to serve God and his brethren to the utmost. He humbly requests God to give him additional heavenly virtues to help make himself a better person as a whole.
His appeal to ask God to give him these virtues in order to further serve others in need is proof of his insatiable desire to be of service to both God and his fellowmen. The behavior exhibited is undoubtedly a great specimen of Christian Monastic tradition. There is no question that monasticism exhibits and follows the most treasured virtues that function as the cornerstone of Christian Monasticism namely: Obedience, Humility, Chastity, and Poverty.
The rule book written by Saint Benedict, on the other hand, is seemingly different in essence to the message being conveyed because it mandates regular members of the congregation to serve and follow the seemingly absolute rule of the leader of the congregation called the abbot. The idea conveyed on the said book, if compared to the idea conveyed on the Prayer written by Saint Francis would be slightly off the mark because it does not seemingly follow all of the virtues that characterize Christian Monasticism, more particularly in practicing the virtue of humility.
However, this work made by St. Benedict shows us the main scenario and gives us a general insight as to how monks practiced their profession from seclusion. The rule book, enumerates the rules and code of conduct that a man has to carry out to “conquer” the world. This document clearly emphasizes three of the four virtues highly valued by monks, namely obedience, chastity and poverty.
It does not totally give the impression of humility because the book appears to carry an aura that speaks of authority and dominance, not meekness or humility. If we are going to further take this into context with the teachings of Jesus Christ, the discrepancy would even be more pronounced. Jesus Christ in one of his best known quotes to his followers when one of them asked as to who should be considered the greatest among their group answered that “in order to be the greatest, one should be the servant of his brothers”.
Hence if this is to be measuring stick in comparing these two manuscripts as to which would best describe Christian Monasticism, it would be obvious that that the prayer of Saint Francis would be the one that runs along the direction of being more attuned to the aspects of Christian Monasticism. The rule book of Saint Benedict cannot be considered within the same context because the greatest became the person that his subordinates served instead of vice versa.
However, this might be, the only noticeable difference between these two documentary references . The other ideas being conveyed by both documents all point to the Christian Monastic tradition, which is the constant practice of the virtues of obedience, chastity, humility and poverty. II. Influence of Christian Monastism to Christian Tradition Both of these texts exhibit and portray a near perfect depiction of the Christian Monastic tradition.
This cannot be inferred clearer than that which is contained on the writings of the authors themselves. Their commitment to practice chastity, obedience, and a life lived in poverty cannot be taken into any other context except that they expressed no lesser than what was required of them, their obvious commitment to their cause, profession, fellowmen and to God, in upholding the teachings of his son, Jesus. Christian Monasticism as depicted by St. Francis and St.
Benedict on their writings form a very vital part of the legacy attributed to Christian Tradition. This is because Christian Monasticism illustrates no less than one of the greatest methods devised by man to serve God and his neighbors by literally following the scriptural teachings of Christ. No other Christian group or denomination today would come close to doing what these men and their followers have done in order to divest themselves of worldly matters and concerns.
Even the Christian monastic congregations nowadays cannot match a fraction of the suffering or effort that these early Christian monastics endured until their last breath. It could even be mentioned that the hardships these people endured might be one of the criteria or inspiration used by voting clerics to measure in the Conferment of sainthood to pious individuals.
The mark left by Christian Monasticism on the overall legacy of Christian tradition cannot be denied inasmuch as practitioners of Christian Monasticism gave their everything, their life, their property and their freewill to show the Christian world how to properly worship and honor God, and how to live peacefully within a community. The legacy they left behind plays an important part in setting up standards in worshipping and revering God and his church.
University/College: University of Arkansas System
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 12 September 2016
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