Hear, O Israel,
Scribe: Sue Hofton
Vellum with ink and paint
Throughout the St. John's Bible,
special attention is given to verses of scripture
referenced with the Rule of Benedict
and of significant to the St. John's community
prayer life or that of other traditions.
The Hear O Israel special treatments
appears in Deuteronomy 6
and is known as the Shema which,
in Hebrew, means "to hear or listen."
The Shema is an affirmation of Judaism
and a proclamation of faith in one God.
This profession of faith is often prayed
by people of the Jewish faith
every morning and evening,
summing up the first and second commandments
to "Hear O Israel, the Lord is our God,
the Lord is One."
This verse also has significance
to the St. John's Abbey monks since
"listen" is the first rule in the Rule of St. Benedict.
The rule, which governs the communal
life of the monastery,
implores the monks to
"listen with the ear of your heart."
The Shema illustration here highlights
one of my personal highlights of this passage.