Benedict: A Life of Listening

Many centuries ago, one hero of the faith chose purposefully to live the Christian faith counter-culturally. Around A.D. 540, Benedict developed a rule of life for faithful followers of Christ. In the midst of increasing religious and secular pressures, Benedict began the journey of discerning the will of God for himself and those he lived with.

In his classic “Little Rule for Beginners” Benedict’s opening word is Listen! He offers a way of listening in a safe, faith-filled community environment. Here God’s voice can be heard by those seeking him through humility and obedience. In community, like-minded and like-heated believers best learn to practice the disciplines of prayer, healthy relationships and good works.

According to Benedict, God becomes the primary informant of the heart and mind when believers learn to listen to his voice. Out of this posture of listening, God calls each one to loving intimacy in prayer, faith and life. Such a disciplined journey may be difficult at first, Benedict confesses, but “as we progress in this life and in faith, our hearts will expand with the inexpressible joy of love as we run the way of God’s commandments.” Thus the ultimate outcome of living by a rule of life is joy. Loving worship and faith-filled service to God produces pure joy. This is the pathway to the abundance of life.

Benedict thought and prayed about how best to live for God in this world. His classic rule was crafted in isolation, but tested and transformed in community. In a cave near the Anio River in Subiaco, Italy, Benedict came to the full realization that God’s call was toward humility, as expressed both in contemplation (a life of prayer) and community (a life of love). This twofold priority became the backbone of Benedict’s rule of life.

Is it time for you to “cave away” from the busyness and noise of this world and listen humbly to the gentle voice of God? To discover your own personal rule of life takes time and concerted effort; you must listen to God and discern what he wants you to be and do for his glory. Fulfilling a personal rule of life, centered in the pursuit of a well-developed spiritual life within a predominantly secular society, is difficult to say the least. But it’s certainly not impossible.

Set apart time to prayerfully listen and then write out what you sense is God’s invitation to your life. If you need help crafting your personal rule of life be sure to consult www.ruleoflife.com for resources for this journey.

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Steve Macchia

Founder & President

The Rev. Dr. Stephen A. Macchia is founder and president of Leadership Transformations, Inc. (LTI), a ministry serving the spiritual formation, discernment, and renewal of leaders and learners since 2003. For more than 20 years he has been the Director of the Pierce Center for Disciple-Building at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, where he also serves as an adjunct faculty member in the Doctor of Ministry Program. From 1989-2003 he was the president of Vision New England, the largest regional church renewal association in the country. Earlier in his ministry life, Steve was a member of the pastoral staff of Grace Chapel in Lexington, Massachusetts for 11 years. He is the author or co-author of 17 books, including The Discerning Life (Zondervan Reflective), and Crafting a Rule of Life, Becoming A Healthy Church (LTI), and Broken and Whole (IVP).  He and his wife Ruth live in the Boston (MA) area and are the proud parents of two married children and grandparents to three adorable grandchildren. Steve’s personal website is www.SteveMacchia.com.

My soul comes alive singing the great hymns of the church and enjoying the beauty of God’s creation. I’m in awe of God for fulfilling the dream for LTI that he birthed in my heart, for the team he has assembled, and the transformational impact experienced in the leaders and teams we serve.

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Mitzi Mak

Selah-West Faculty

Mitzi started her professional life as a high school social studies teacher. She and her husband Jerry then served cross-culturally for ten+ years, living abroad first in India and then Kurdistan, N. Iraq. In addition to being a Spiritual Director, she now serves as a Formation and Care pastor in her local church in Houston, TX. She has graduated from LTI’s Selah Spiritual Direction training as well as LTI’s Emmaus Formational Leadership Program.

Mitzi enjoys engaging conversation, reading fiction, doing jigsaw/crossword puzzles, ocean gazing and exploring the world with Jerry through food and travel.

God has two main callings in Mitzi’s life: to care for those who care for others and to be a guide in helping others have a healthy relationship with the Trinity – recognizing God’s loving presence and activity in their lives and how to faithfully respond.

Selah was a transformative experience for me – allowing the contemplative within to emerge and to beautifully co-exist with my extraverted personality.