The Rule of Benedict
Many of us experience a deep thirst for a meaningful spiritual life. We feel the need for genuine spiritual refreshment as we wander through an environment all too often parched and dry. So we eagerly set out on the inviting journey of seeking a deeper relationship with God’s very Self, but, before we are very far along, we discover that we cannot go it alone. We need help, advice and guidance.
We have groups that meet monthly and new groups forming to help you find new hope and new meaning in living out your Baptismal Covenant. Interested? Contact Deacon Jerry Grabher at email@example.com or 816-590-6205.
More about the Rule of Benedict
The Rule of Benedict is a spiritual guide, rare by virtue of its ancient origins, valued for its continuing meaningfulness in every century since. It has weathered every period of Western history since the fall of the Roman Empire and been a dynamic source of light and energy to each. Surely someone ought to ask, How is it that anything can last that long be considered viable in ages so distant from its own? Someone ought to care why it is that this way of life has been found to be both holy and helpful, whatever the social changes of the era, whatever the pitfalls of the time. Someone ought to wonder, then, in what directions, if any, would this Rule point in our own lives in a period in which every system in the Western world—government, economics, family, social values, and human relations—is once again in flux? These two class opportunities will look, with respect and amazement at a document and a lifestyle that has been part of the Western development for over 1,500 years and under which thousands of people around the world purport to live even now. What meaning, if any, can this Rule possibly have for average people of our own day who grapple with a culture awash in the transitory and the tenuous, in superficiality and confusion?
The basic contentions for our study together are two: first, that Benedictine spirituality deals with the issues facing us now—stewardship, relationships, authority, community, balance, work, simplicity, prayer and spiritual and psychological development. Its strength, therefore, is that it is fresh and ancient, current and tried at the same time. Second, its currency lies in the fact that Benedictine spirituality offers more a way of life and an attitude of mind than it does a set of religious prescriptions. The Benedictine way of life, after all, is credited with having saved Christian Europe from the ravages of the Dark Ages. In an age bent again on its own destruction, the world could well be served by asking how so simple a system could possibly have contributed so complex a thing as that.
Benedict of Nursia emerges from that rare stream of thinkers who lived out a single tradition but from the perspective of universal and fundamental insights into life. In the Rule, we profit from all of them. Benedict of Nursia was born in the year 480. As a student in Rome, he tired of the decadent culture around him and left it to live a simple spiritual life as a hermit in the countryside of Subiaco, about thirty miles away. It wasn’t long, however, before he was discovered both by the people of the area and disciples who were themselves looking for a more meaningful way of life. Out of these association sprang the monastic life that would eventually cover Europe.
In our own day, there are over 1,500 communities of roughly 30,000 Benedictine and Cistercian men and women around the world who live under the Rule. In addition to the professed monastics who follow the Benedictine way of life, however, there are innumerable laypersons around the globe who also find in the Rule a guide and a ground for their own lives in the middle of a chaotic and challenging world.