Listen, My Son: St. Benedict for Fathers. Fr. Longenecker (although he wasn't a priest when he wrote this book -- more on that later) takes the classic Rule of St. Benedict, written in the mid-sixth century to regulate monastic life, and breaks it into bite-sized pieces. He organizes these selections into four months' worth of daily readings and appends his own reflections that make St. Benedict's words about monastic life applicable to family life. As the title indicates, it's particularly aimed at fathers, who, in a sense, are the abbots of their homes. (having its etymological roots in the Aramaic term abba, meaning papa or daddy, an "abbot" is meant to be the father of the monks under his authority).
In yesterday's reading, St. Benedict employs amazing imagery to guide us in how to handle evil thoughts that enter our minds. He writes:
". . . dash the evil thoughts that invade one's heart immediately upon Christ, as upon a rock, and . . . reveal them to one's spiritual father."
What powerful and effective imagery that is for me! As sinful people, we are constantly buffeted by evil thoughts -- desires, ideas, temptations to oppose God's will. In St. Benedict's metaphor, not only is Christ there to help me resist such thoughts or forgive me if I fail to resist them, but He is the very means by which I may shatter and utterly detroy such thoughts as soon as they enter my mind! Christus vincit, Christus regnat, Christus imperat!
Fr. Longenecker elaborates:
And let us not forget the second part of St. Benedict's admonition: "reveal them to one's spiritual father." For Protestants, that would be someone in a relationship of accountability. For Catholics like myself, that would be one's confessor. If I may say so, in my short time as a Catholic, I have found the sacrament of Confession to be such a profound joy and help -- albeit a somewhat scary joy and help -- in my relationship with Christ that I hardly see how I ever got by without it. And the absolution is nice, too.
St. Mary's in Greenville. He also runs an outstanding blog, Standing on My Head.