Canine Model of Benedictine Practice

Can a dog be a Benedictine? Probably not. But, as I observe my 9 ½ year old miniature schnauzer, Elway, I notice that he often displays behavior that reflects St. Benedict’s Rule.

For example, Elway:

is always attentive to the sound of my voice…and obedient (mostly) to my commands

…relishes stillness (naps at every opportunity)

…is always eager to join the Master (me) for any activity (especially walks and car rides)

…greets the Master with unbridled joy every time I come through the door, whether I’ve

been away for five minutes or five weeks

…understands his natural place in the world as “as close as possible to the Master”

…delights in the Master’s presence at all times

…is completely and unashamedly dependent on me for his physical and emotional well


…is quick to vocalize (barks or growls) his needs and desires, and trusts completely that the

Master is the one who can satisfy those needs and desires

…is quick to extend hospitality (bark uncontrollably) to every visitor, known or unknown,

who approaches our property (especially the mail carrier) and jumps happily up to shower affection on

anyone who enters the house

…flourishes amid routine and ritual (He even makes the sign of the Cross every time we get

into the car, jumping into first one and then the other of the front seats, then back, then into the back seat)

…genuinely enjoys Lectio divina (He always insists on sitting right beside the Master, so as to

gain a clear view of the scripture, or other, reading.)

Sometimes, I think Elway may have a better handle on the Rule than I do.

2 thoughts on “Canine Model of Benedictine Practice

  1. That was utterly delightful! Have you read The Rabbi’s Cat, by Joann Sfar? If not, you must. It is a graphic novel. The cat (after swallowing a parrot) soliloquizes for a time about the nature of God, somewhat as you’ve done here.


  2. We belong to a Jack Russell Terrier named Sparky, who also enjoys Lectio Divina. Who knew?


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