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Exploring the Rule of St Benedict

Updated on April 8, 2012

Saint Benedict

Saint Benedict - image taken from osb.org
Saint Benedict - image taken from osb.org

Exploring the Rule of St Benedict

LI S T E N carefully, my child
to your master's precepts,
and incline the ear of your heart (Prov. 4:20).
Receive willingly and carry out effectively
your loving father's advice,
that by the labour of obedience
you may return to Him
from whom you had departed by the sloth of disobedience.

What do we know of this monk of Nursia? Well, to be honest quite a bit and I’m not going to delve into that here; there is a hyperlink below which you may find helpful.

This hub is about the Rule of St Benedict, upon which many communities of monks and nuns base their daily lives in monasteries Abbeys and convents around the world. A section is read daily in cycles throughout the year in all Benedictine communities.

St Benedict is credited with writing a rule – a set of boundaries guidance to help both individuals follow their faith and God but also for a community to live and work by. From the qualifications of the Monastery Cellarer (like a storekeeper) to the proper amount of food and drink; from the restraint of speech to a discourse on humility; from the sleeping arrangements of the monks to the reception of guests; it's all here

The words above are from the prologue – the introduction to the rule. It opens with the word ‘Listen’; something we don’t do very often in our daily lives. Listen to others, to God maybe, or to nature – to the birds, wind in the trees. The bubbling of a stream... great music... poetry... many many things that if we listened, if we found some space and time in this hectic world, we would find peace.

I have found a short book called Spirituality for Everyday Living – an adaptation of the rule of St Benedict by Brian C Taylor.

It is a straight forward look at the way in which people can adapt the rule to their lives – looking at commitment, study, work, relationships and solitude – the latter being perhaps one of the most important things in busy hectic lives - time to listen as Benedict himself directs us, as he introduces the rule.

With thanks to WriteAngled, a fellow hubber, I have added a further web link below to the site of a lay Benedictine community. it's worth a visit if you are looking to do more about the Rule in your day to day life. The community was formally attached to Worth Abbey; I've included their web site link also.

For those seeking a more in depth view, a good writer on the Rule of St Benedict is Esther de Waal; she is well known and respected in the world of Benedictine writing. Perhaps her most well known book is Living with contradiction – An Introduction to Benedictine Spirituality; closely followed by another of her titles, Seeking God – The Way of St Benedict.

As to the Rule itself, if you are interested and want to read it – either on a daily basis as it is read in the monasteries, or as a book - perhaps the best translation with notes (in my view) is RB1980, The Rule of St Benedict in English.

There is a less weighty volume called The Rule of St Benedict, translated by Abbot Parry OSB with a foreword by Esther de Waal; this version is nicely broken up into daily 'bites' of the Rule.

I discovered St Benedict many years ago and I have found his rule to be an inspiration; the balance which he seeks to bring through a relationship with god and those around us. Whether of great faith or none, I think Benedict’s Rule can help us all to find balance and peace. I hope you have found this of interest and are inspired to explore further this monk of Nursia.

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    • dragonbear profile imageAUTHOR

      dragonbear 

      7 years ago from Essex UK

      Hi Linda - thanks for the comment and flattered that you're following. I hope to publish some new hubs over the coming weeks.

    • lindatymensky profile image

      lindatymensky 

      7 years ago

      Thanks dragonbear for the Catholic Christian hub. I too am Catholic and like to write on these subjects. I'm following you! Keep 'em coming! Linda

    • itakins profile image

      itakins 

      8 years ago from Irl

      The monks were considering reprinting it ,due to popular demand-we have a very old copy,but I believe there is an ebook lurking around;well worth a read

    • dragonbear profile imageAUTHOR

      dragonbear 

      8 years ago from Essex UK

      Dolores Monet - I'll do a follow-up hub on the rules :-)

    • dragonbear profile imageAUTHOR

      dragonbear 

      8 years ago from Essex UK

      itakins - Abbot Vonier was Abbot of Buckfast Abbey in Devon - I know it well. He is commemorated there for his vision and work in re-building the abbey. I didn't realise he had written the book you mention - I hadn’t heard of it. I'll take a look.

      Thanks for the comment and the information, Buckfast has a special place in my heart.

    • itakins profile image

      itakins 

      8 years ago from Irl

      dragonbear-

      I am a great fan of St Benedict (and his medal), and Abbot Vonier a Benedictine monk who wrote possibly the definitive text on 'The Human Soul'-it's old ,but a wonderful read.

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 

      8 years ago from East Coast, United States

      Well, dragon, you have me curious. I imagine the Benedictine life is rather austere but full of the beauty that a simple life can be. I wish you would have told us of more of the rules. Then I would not have to go look them up, lazy hubber that I am. :(

    • dragonbear profile imageAUTHOR

      dragonbear 

      8 years ago from Essex UK

      WriteAngled - that's an excellent tip. The site looks great; I'll include it as a web link on this hub. Thanks for letting me know. Worth Abbey has a great reputation for Benedictine spirituality. Thanks for your comment.

    • WriteAngled profile image

      WriteAngled 

      8 years ago from Abertawe, Cymru

      I belonged to the lay community at Worth Abbey for a couple of years. This consisted of residents and non-residents who applied the Benedictine principles to their lives. Googling it just now, I find that a UK-wide organisation has been developed: http://www.laybenedictines.org/index.html

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