You rule the raging of the sea *
and still the surging of its waves.
...but should be trusted with kindly consideration...
Benedict's Rule 37:2 (Chittister, Pg. 177)
Benedict builds compassion right into the Rule so that oppression in the name of God will not become a monastic sin.
Chittister, Pg. 178
We must have compassion and realistic expectations for the situation and time of life people are in. For example, we expect tired children to be cranky and to cry. We don't expect them to make rational adult decisions. We don't even expect fully rational decisions from ourselves and other adults when we are over tired, sick, or overextended.
We do expect ourselves, as adults in good condition, to make allowances for when we are "out of sorts", avoiding most (I would say all, but I am realistic) of the melt-downs we see in children.
I am thinking this expectation is the easy part. The "real" part happens when we keep driving ourselves, denying we have reached, or even exceeded, our normal capabilities, where we don't make allowances for being over tired, or deny we are ill, or that life is simply over taxing our capabilities. Or, perhaps even worse, when we hide behind being tired, sick, and overwhelmed to avoid responsibilities...
Balance. Again we come to balance in our own lives, and in what we expect of others.
Praise and thank you to our Lord for being with us, holding us, and keeping us through the all too many times we fail on our own.
A Note To Readers:
This entry is part of a series that is developing as I read The Rule of Benedict, A Spirituality for the 21st Century, Joan Chittister, OSB, Crossroads, 2010. I am offering this both to those at St. George's Episcopal Church, Arlington VA, that may be reading this book and to anyone that is interested.
Unless stated otherwise quotes from St. Benedict's Rule are from the translation in this same book. Psalms are from The Book of Common Prayer, The Episcopal Church, 1979 unless otherwise noted.