Benedict’s Rule: Not Just For Monastics

One of the first things to get clear is that The Rule of St. Benedict is not just for monastics.  It began as an in-house manual for monks, nuns, and the eventual Benedictine Order (and other Orders too), but it has spilled over into a guidebook for any Christian who wants to live for the glory of God.

We must read the Rule with a mindset to turn particulars into principles.  When we do so, we find that they fit into our 21st-century context and become relevant particulars again.

This is why Esther de Waal decided to write a book that is not a re-translation of the original text, or a technical commentary on the Rule, but rather a presentation of the key dynamics which arise out of the Rule—dynamics which can characterize the life of any disciple.

We will begin to examine those dynamics in the weeks ahead.  But as we stand on the brink of an exciting time together, I like what Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove has to say in his new book, The Rule of Saint Benedict: A Contemporary Paraphrase (Paraklete Press)—“It’s a fundamentally practical vision for all people.  The vision, in short, is this: left to our own desires, we make a mess of our lives.  But our Creator has shown us the way to true life.  To receive the gift of this way is to follow it.  This is not a rule for some part of our life called ‘spiritual.’  It is a rule for all of life.”  (p. 7)

And so we will find it to be in our upcoming explorations.  Now would be a great time to invite some of your friends to join the Oboedire journey and become a conversation partner with you in Benedict’s classical wisdom.

About Steve Harper

Retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 42 books. Also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
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