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Evil Zeal and Holy Zeal...

In the last chapter of his Rule, Benedict contrasts the two kinds of zeal that can exist in the human heart: the zeal of bitterness and jealousy that separates us from God, and the good zeal that energizes us to resist every vice and unites us in love to God. This latter is what gives us the power to strive unceasingly to pursue holiness not only for ourselves but also for the good of our brothers and sisters in Christ.

This zeal within a community should lead us to outdo one another in honoring one another with love and patience, supporting each other in our Christian life. This is the very drive of our coming together into living Christian communities—to seek holiness together and collaborate in cultivating a way of life wherein our Christian vocation to holiness and divinization becomes not only possible, but even as natural as breathing. So may it be always.

Above all, such zeal should keep us focused on keeping first things first and second things second, in their proper order of goods, so that we should put nothing whatsoever ahead of Christ, but rather putting Christ himself before—and at the core of—everything else. This is true discernment.

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