[Click picture to enlarge]
The picture is of the version of the Rule I read and the beads were given to me by a very generous and kind oblate at the retreat held a few weeks ago.
Many editions of the Rule of St. Benedict have date notations so you can read through the Rule three times in a year. And in chapter 66 St. Benedict wrote that the Rule should be read to monks frequently. It is a practice that oblates also try to follow.
The Rule of St. Benedict begins with the word Listen, perhaps the most significant word in the Rule.
Certainly it is the word that immediately comes to mind when I think of the Rule.
Ora et labora (prayer and work) are the ideas (some would say the theme of the Benedictine life) that are often used to identify Benedictine practices. I think that “Listen” — the first call of the master in the Rule — is the recurring link between prayer and work in our daily lives. Visually, it might look like a strand of beads:
Listen — Pray — Listen — Work — Listen — Pray — Listen — Work