The Rule of Saint Benedict Kindle Edition
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Anyhow, one of our small church groups read Christian classics, not to accept them uncritically, but rather to relearn, or become reacquainted with practices of Christians, centuries earlier, with the goal of living today, as Christians who "matter" and make a difference.
We are looking at the disciplines, particularly prayer, dedicated "missionary teams", and practices that are "lost" today like fasting, having times of silence, and so on. There is a lot to think about. We feel free to agree with some ideas, like humility, times of silence, eating less, praying deliberately, submitting to authority.
The kindle version is easy to read.
I struggle with the VOLUNTARY ? "socialist" ? idea of owning nothing, communal ownership; That one is a bit tough and a challenge for an independent minded American ! I do not find it, an unbiblical idea.
Those who submit to such "rules" will experience a voluntary, civilian - religious, version of military authority, and real discipline, not totally unattractive.
We decided we would not beat with sticks, or belts, laggards, lazy ones, and persons slow to obey Christ in our own community.
A very profitable book, if read in the right spirit, particularly for serious Christians, Christian leaders, and those who seek WORTHY Christian leadership. The book is a great starting point.
Therefore, as someone who writes about religion, I must often go back to it to recall what it says, as I did yesterday when I needed to see Benedict's statement on the canonical hours. I found that quickly, because this edition has an active Table of Contents for all 73 chapters, even though some are less than a page long. I looked at some of the 99 cent editions, and I found poor organization and no active contents.
Since St. Benedict's rule is so simple and easy to understand, I don't feel the need for a lot of introduction or commentary, but I liked the introduction since it gave some perspective on the consequences of monasteries, which are not evident from Benedict's rule. For example, by the 12th century, theology was done primarily by monks who were professors at that new idea called a university. But in Benedict's time, there was no such thing. Theology was written by priests and bishops.
Unless you can find a dramatically superior feature (such as facing Latin text) I would go with this edition rather than one of those more expensive.
St Benedict makes one really consider what is needed in life and to whom we owe what. In rule 55 he says, "Bedding shall consist of a mattress, coverlet, blanket, and pillow. The abbot will make frequent inspections of the bedding to prevent hoarding. Any infractions are subject to the severest discipline and, so that this vice of private ownership may be cut away at the roots, the abbot is to furnish all necessities: cowl, tunic, shoes, stockings, belt, knife, pen, needle, towel, and writing tablet. With these, any excuse for need will be vanquished. (hmmm, I wonder how many motorcycles I really need?)
I was really starting to get into the whole thing and feeling the humility St. Benedict calls for until I got to the part about the harsh treatment of the youngest members of the monastery. That set me back a little bit but in the end, there is a lot to learn here about one's self, one's God, and the need to find a simpler life of faith and humility.
In Benedict's defense, this is a very well-laid out piece of literature. It organization is stellar - to the point that it works REALLY WELL if you need to write a paper to respond to the ideas of early (and possibly current, though don't quote me on that) Catholics.