At the supreme farewell hour, when Christ Jesus spoke for the last time with his Apostles before entering into his sorrowful Passion and sacrificing himself for the world’s salvation, what is the exclusive theme of his discourse and the first object of his prayer? Spiritual charity. A new commandment I give unto you… by this shall all men know that you are my disciples… Father… that they may be one, as we also are one, I in them, and you in me, that they may become perfectly one. That is the testament of Christ’s Heart.
Our Blessed Father St Benedict, in concluding his Rule, also leaves us as his last testament, his magnificent teaching on good zeal. After having set forth in detail the ordering of our life, he sums up all his doctrine in this short chapter. And what does he tell us? Does he speak to us of prayer? Of contemplation? Of mortification? Undoubtedly, the holy Patriarch forgets nothing of all this, as we have seen; but having reached the end of his long life so full of experience, at the moment of closing the monastic code which contains for us the secret of perfection, he speaks to us, before all else, of mutual love; he wishes, with that intense desire which was that of Jesus at the Last Supper, to see us excel in most fervent love. This chapter is the worthy crowning of a Rule which is but the pure reflection of the Gospel.