Among the “Tools of Good Works” St. Benedict lists in his Rule is this stern command: “Never nurse a grudge.” That brilliant phrase says that we must be sick or injured or disabled to need the constant attention, feeding and tender care that requires nursing; but grudges should not. Folklore and literature are filled with tales of grudges between individuals and families that go on for generations, long after both sides have forgotten the original cause. As Benedict knew—and as we all know—grudges destroy friendships, split apart families and communities. Most tragically, grudges between countries or factions may often lead to violence or all-out warfare that magnifies the grudge and use it to justify unimaginable atrocities. Was Benedict a cockeyed optimist, or is it possible for us to stop nursing the grudges that are fragmenting ourselves, our families, and our world?
By Mara Faulkner, OSB