… Listen carefully, my child, to the master’s instruction, and attend with the ear of your heart (Rule of Benedict, Prol. 1).
Good Samaritan Education has a rich Benedictine heritage that draws on ancient wisdom for a modern world. The essential values of Good Samaritan Benedictine Education are:
Love of Christ and Neighbour
Benedictine life, like that of all Christians, is first and foremost a response to God’s astonishing love for humankind, a love expressed in the free gift of God’s beloved Son, Jesus Christ. Love tops Benedict’s list of tools for good works (Rule of Benedict, 5:10, 7:67-69, 4.1-2).
Benedictine schools cultivate a fundamental attentiveness to the ways in which God is present in the human mind and heart and, indeed, in all creation. St Benedict directed that nothing is to be preferred to prayer (Rule of Benedict, 43.3). Lectio divina is the slow meditative reading of Scriptures and other sacred texts with the intention of discerning how God is at work right now in the world and calling within the individual’s own heart.
Stability shapes a Benedictine way of life. All commit themselves to seeking God. They resolve to pursue this, their heart’s deepest desire, together, day in and day out, in good times and in bad, throughout the span of their lives.
The Benedictine word Conversatio means the process of letting go of self-centred preoccupations and false securities, so that the divine life at the core of one’s being becomes manifest in a trustworthy pattern of living.
Benedict begins the Rule with the exhortation “Listen” emphasising the stance required of all who seek wisdom. Obedience is putting into practice what is learned by listening to the other “with the ear of the heart” (Rule of Benedict, Prologue 1).
Benedictine life is built around a fundamental discipline of prayer, work and relationships and seeks to free people to take delight in God’s presence within the self, the community and the world.
The Benedictine way of life seeks an accurate knowledge of self, a pervasive awareness of God’s presence and dependence on others and creation itself. Benedictines recognise their limitations without losing hope and accept their gifts without becoming arrogant because the measure of their lives is not found in themselves alone.
At its core the Rule seeks to foster a fundamental reverence toward the creation that God has made. St Benedict exhorts his followers to regard all the tools and goods of the monastery as the sacred vessels of the altar (Rule of Benedict, 31.10).
St Benedict accords special attention to Christ’s unexpected arrival in the person of the guest, whom he describes alternately as poor and as a stranger. A blessing accompanies both the offering and the receiving of hospitality.
Benedictine community is rooted in a particular place in which mutual service, especially in little things of everyday life, is demanded of all with no expectation of individual reward.
Justice and Peace
The aim of Benedictine life is to find peace. We must pursue it and work for it. It is an active ordering of life so that peace is the outcome. Peace is a feature of just communities – for peace to reign, justice is fundamental.
Adapted from Association of Benedictine Colleges & Universities Statement (The Ten Hallmarks of Benedictine Education): Education within the Benedictine Wisdom Tradition Revised August 27, 2007. Source: www.abcu.info