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Promises and Obligations

When people join the Lay Community, they make a promise and repeat it annually.

"In response to the call of Christ, I offer myself to Almighty God,

by the help of the Holy Spirit, with the love of the Lay Community of St Benedict

to live holy communion,

create holy space,

and offer holy service.

in ways in which my circumstances allow."

On the surface there is nothing in the promise that any active (I dislike the word practicing in this context) Christian should have a problem with. However, for me it is crucial to think carefully about what I am agreeing to.

In making the promise I am making an obligation to myself, the community and God. Community members follow the rule of Benedict as our guide to how to live as an active Benedictine.

Each one of us must take the words of promise and the Rule and make them real for them - “in ways in which my circumstances allow." When I say, “I offer myself to Almighty God”, What exactly do I mean in the context of an active Christian/Benedictine Community – What obligation am I making?

God makes his obligation clear in the words Christ spoke during his time on earth in the Gospels and in the words of our promise “by the help of the holy spirit.”

The community makes its obligation by offering its love and support of a member’s offer to God. All members will provide that love in the way they are most able, fashioned and guided by the Holy Spirit.

Making a personal obligation through the promise is not an easy way forward. Saint Benedict is clear in The Rule that there is a definite way of living that focuses us and guides us to make good and appropriate obligations as Benedictines.

So, when I make the Promise and accept The Rule, I need to be fully aware as a Christian and Lay Benedictine that it requires me to be fully mindful of what I am doing as I:

live holy communion,

create holy space,

and offer holy service.

Peter Firkin


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