The Rule of Saint Benedict Paperback – Mar 24 1998
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Everybody has a rule of life, but it's a rare person who takes the time to spell her ethos out. St. Benedict's Rule, formulated in the sixth century, is among the most comprehensive and vital rules of life in the history of monasticism. Benedict was a tough guy--his standards of obedience, humility, and contemplation can sound awfully rigid to contemporary ears. But his rule has nurtured millions of lives not only in the cloisters, but in every city, suburb, and countryside where people strive to lead simpler lives. --Michael Joseph Gross
From Library Journal
Here Vintage uses Benedict's treatise on the monastic life to launch its new "Spiritual Classics" series. Written roughly around A.D. 400, Benedict's Rule has been the handbook of the Benedictines, Cistercians, and many other monastic orders throughout the world. For all religion collections.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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This particular volume comes from the Vintage Spiritual Classics series, and there is no doubt that the Rule of Benedict, standing solid in community for 1500 years, qualifies. Countless people have based their lives and spiritual practices on the words contained herein.
Thomas Moore, noted author of such texts as 'Care of the Soul' and 'Meditations', provides an introduction to the series. Moore's sensibilities lend themselves to the practice of a rule -- discipline and community are important to him, and as such he finds a natural bond with Benedictine practices.
Father Timothy Fry, OSB (which stands for 'Order of St. Benedict', and is used by monastics and oblates), provides a brief introduction and a timeline of monastic development from before the Christian era to after the time of Benedict.
Benedict was fully aware of human frailty, as true 1500 years ago as it is today. This frailty requires much to be done to give the person strength, and so Benedict's Rule is designed for an ever-increasing self-discipline which is supported by community worship and practice.
Benedict's Rule for life includes worship, work, study, prayer, and relaxation. Benedict's Rule requires community -- even for those who become hermits or solitaries, there is a link to the community through worship and through the Rule. No one is alone. This is an important part of the relationship of God to the world, so it is an integral part of the Rule.Read more ›
It is, however, helpful to have a guidebook such as Chittister's or de Wall's, in order to understand how the Rule is applied, and what wisdome people have found in it who have actually lived under its strictures for years and even decades. That will help the reader understand what value there is in the Rule.
Benedict recognized that this kind of lifestyle would not work in a community. When the monks who had clustered around him began to try to work out life together, they needed new rules. Benedict gave them this masterwork. In it, for the first time, the monastic day is divided into measured portions of nearly equal amount -- time for work, time for sleep, time for prayer. This balance, clearly necessary in community, was nevertheless innovative and far easier to live than the rules that had come before.
I wear Benedict's medal to remind myself -- in an era in which more of the day is devoted to work than Benedict would have allowed -- that balance is critical to community. Reading the Rule in that light might add to your enjoyment of it in the 21st century.
As a side note, any fan of the Cadfael mysteries simply must read this Rule to properly understand the complexities of the life portrayed in those novels!
Most recent customer reviews
Saint Benedict's 'The Rule of Saint Benedict' (Vintage Spiritual Classic edition) is 112 pages long and is divided into 73 mini-chapters, along with a preface, introduction,... Read morePublished on June 2 2011 by Rad Zdero
The use of the word 'interesting' seems to be inappropriate for this book. For me as a Catholic the life of monasticism is still full of secret. Read morePublished on March 1 2002 by Lai Chun Pin Patrick
This edition starts with a helpful introduction of Lectio Divina reading (read, meditate, rest in God, govern one's actions) by the editors. Read morePublished on Oct. 24 2001 by Gary Sprandel
The rule of St. Benedict is an important historical document as it guided Western monasticism for close to 1500 years. Read morePublished on Dec 30 2000
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