Benedict’s Rule: The Life of Love

I am blessed to have had Dr. Thomas Carruth as a professor when I was in seminary.  I never imagined (in my wildest dreams) that I would come some years later to succeed him as Professor of Prayer and Spiritual Life at Asbury Theological Seminary.  But so it has been since 1980.

At the time, I did not realize that “Dr. Tom” was leading us into the heart of biblical and classical spirituality with his unrelenting emphasis on Love.  Sometimes it seemed like it was the only thing that mattered to him, and as a young (immature) seminarian, I sometimes wanted him to “get on to other things” as he taught us.

But now…..I realize that Tom Carruth was a true mystic—a true interpreter of the classical Christian tradition.  I can only imagine that now, in heaven, Benedict and Tom are having wonderful conversations about Love—“high fiving” one another for having caught the essence of the Christian faith and passed it on to the likes of us!

In our day, Henri Nouwen wrote he had concluded the only question that ultimately matters is this, “Have the years of my life moved me to love God more and more?”  That’s what Tom Carruth was trying to get through to us more than 40 years ago.  It’s what Benedict was trying to say in the Rule he wrote nearly 1500 years ago.

You can say many other good words after you have said, “Love.”  But there’s no finer word to be spoken before you’ve said, “Love.”  The Rule of Benedict is instruction in the life of Love.

Thanks, “Dr. Tom” for putting enough spiritual velcro on my soul, so that Benedict could stick to it when I finally met him.

About Steve Harper

Dr. Steve Harper is retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 45 books. He is also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
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4 Responses to Benedict’s Rule: The Life of Love

  1. linda carruth davis says:

    Steve, thanks so much for sharing your memories of Daddy and honoring his ministry in the world. I still get requests for “Forty Days of Love”. Whatever we do for Jesus lives on.

  2. wayne says:

    How wonderful to read. Seems the bug might be infectious and I believe that one Dr. Steve Harper is responsible but me catching this same bug. Thanks for your love to me as a student and mentor.

  3. How I loved Dr. Carruth? I have a treasured picture of him as a young man in Washington D. C. with some of my other dear friends conducting a day of prayer. I loved his 40 days of prayer. And he taught me much about healing also! He wrote and asked me to pray for his wife.

  4. Ric Schopke says:

    I well remember from college days Dr. Carruth’s “40 Days of Love” and “100 Days of Love”.
    Thanks for the memory of a great servant of God.

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