There is a telling phrase in the ‘Life’ of St Benedict by Pope St Gregory the Great: ‘He lived with himself’: As St Gregory expresses it: ‘I may well say, therefore, that this holy man lived with himself, because he never turned the eye of his soul from himself, but standing always on his guard with great circumspection, he kept himself continually in the all-seeing eye of his Creator’.

This is not a case of extreme introspection, but one of lived reality under the gaze of God. ‘Guarding of the heart’ is standard monastic teaching, following Sacred Scripture, as this passage from Proverbs explains: ‘Keep your heart with all vigilance; for from it flow the springs of life. Put away from you crooked speech, and put devious talk far from you. Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you’.

As we rejoice in the wisdom and spiritual depth of our Holy Father St Benedict, let us ask his intercession, that we may live our lives under the gaze of God. May He bless you this day.