What are the rules for living a good life?
In the first place to love the Lord with all one’s heart,
with all one’s soul and with all one’s strength.
Then to love one’s neighbour as oneself.
Then not to kill.
Not to commit adultery.
Not to steal.
Not to covet.
Not to bear false witness.
To respect all people.
And not to do to others what one would not wish
to have done to oneself.
To deny oneself in order to follow Christ.
To be master of one’s own body.
To help the poor.
To clothe the naked.
To visit the sick.
To bury the dead.
To assist those in distress.
To console the afflicted.
Not to let anything come before the love of Christ.
Not to give rein to one’s wrath.
Not to meditate revenge.
Not to harbour deceit in one’s heart.
Not to offer a pretended peace.
Not to forsake charity.
Not to swear, for fear of perjury.
To speak the truth from heart and mouth.
Not to render evil for evil.
Not to commit injustice
but to bear patiently what is done to oneself.
To love one’s enemies.
Not to render cursing for cursing, but rather blessing.
To endure persecution for righteousness’ sake.
To place one’s hope in God.
If one sees any good in oneself,
to ascribe it to God, not to oneself.
To fear the day of judgment.
To dread hell.
To desire eternal life with all one’s heart and soul.
Every day to keep death present before one’s eyes.
Not to hate anyone.
Not to entertain jealousy.
Not to give oneself up to envy.
To respect the aged.
To love the young.
In the love of Christ to pray for one’s enemies.
After a disagreement, to make peace before the sun goes down.
And never to despair of God’s mercy.
Such are the tools of the spiritual art.
St Benedict of Nursia