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St. Benedict and St. Therese: The Little Rule & the Little Way Paperback – March 1, 2002

4.9 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 223 pages
  • Publisher: Our Sunday Visitor (IN) (March 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0879739835
  • ISBN-13: 978-0879739836
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.3 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #540,385 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

By Addison H. Hart on November 3, 2002
Format: Paperback
Commenting on the communion of saints in heaven and how their various differences of temperament and intellect must ultimately complement one another in some as yet utterly unimaginable variegated whole, St. Therese of Lisieux once said: "Delightful and surprising will be the friendships found there - I am sure of it ... [A] simple little child may be the intimate friend of a patriarch." Dwight Longenecker in his new book, St. Benedict and St. Therese: The Little Rule and the Little Way, sees in this almost casual remark the kernel of a much larger reflection: how the nineteenth-century French Carmelite saint - not much more than a little child herself at the time of her death - might indeed easily be imagined hand-in-hand with the Father of western monasticism, the sixth-century St. Benedict of Nursia; for, despite the apparent incongruence of this unexpected pairing, their "Way" and "Rule" are in essence one. The "little way" of St. Therese of the Child Jesus is really nothing less than an utterly radical faith and dependence on Jesus Christ. "Sanctity," she says in her final days, "does not consist in performing such and such acts; it means being ready at heart to become small and humble in the arms of God, acknowledging our weakness and trusting in his fatherly goodness to the point of audacity." (p. 215) Such conviction, expressed while nearly at the point of death, finds its spiritual complement in St. Benedict's "little Rule for beginners": "Let us then never withdraw from discipleship to him, but persevering in his teachings in the monastery till death, let us share the suffering of Christ through patience, and so deserve also to share in his kingdom." (p.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
St Benedict & St Therese can be read for several reasons and will appeal to a variety of readers. First, it offers an insightful analysis and comparison of the spirituality of Benedict "The Little Rule" and Therese "The Little Way." On another level, it is offers a practical application of their principles for our own spiritual direction. And to add pleasure to delight, it presents both of these in a VERY well-written, sometimes Chestertonian style. Longenecker often surprises you by reaching past the usual spiritual platitudes for the deeper truths. His manner is sometimes humorous, but never trite. His style is often breezy, but never without weight. Here are two examples:
ON MIRACLES: "The main problem for sophisticated people is not that miracles are incredible, but that they are an error in taste. . . . Benedict and Therese call us to follow a little way, and it may be that for humility to begin growing, our grown-up taste must be the first to go. Miracles, relics, sentimentality, pilgrimages, and wonderful answers to prayer lie at the heart of ordinary religion, and since Benedict and Therese are apostles of the ordinary it is fitting that their religion sits happily among the sentimental, the miraculous, and the tasteless." (p.47-48)
ON OBEDIENCE: "Obedience promises freedom, but there is a huge risk because obedience also threatens the most odious form of slavery. Religious people have an unfortunate taste for Pharisaism, and the call to obedience attracts two kinds of Pharisees - those who love to dominate and those who love to be dominated." (p.86)
Anyone who bemoans the meager fare of 90% of what is currently published to inspire and educate the aspiring Christian, should buy this book to ensure that the more worthy 10% will not disappear forever.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This brief reflective -- contemplative comparison of two very different yet surprisingly complementary saints, one ancient (St. Benedict) the other modern (St. Therese). While of great value in terms of one's personal spirituality and contemplative devotion -- especially as "spirituality" seems to remain adrift in a sea of "chicken soup" -- perhaps even more spiritual direction can come from the use of this book in parochial small-group or retreat settings. Its humble and down-to-earth style and approach makes it accessible to any reading Catholic Christian, and its structure invites comment, discussion and devotion.

The Catholic Church here in the USA is in desperate need of solid and faithful spiritual direction and spiritual directors for laity and clergy alike. There are too few priests to cover the basic parish ministries. The Sacrament of Reconciliation (Penance), meant to be the place for spiritual guidance and direction, is reduced to a hasty five-minute rote act in the confessional, and so understandably the sacrament for which most Catholics see no personal need. Parish priests are "booked" all day, every day, with little space left for their own prayers and devotions, and so even less for the direction sought by parishioners.

This book will not solve this crisis. A long, long time of spiritual desert-dwelling lies ahead for North American Catholicism (and even more so for Catholicism in spiritually burnt-out Europe) as the Holy Spirit calls the right men to the self-sacrificing ministry of the priesthood.

During this time of wandering in the desert, this book and others like it are greatly needed as means by which laity and lay leadership (e.g.
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