The Rule of Benedict

One of the things I love about spending time at St. Benedict’s Monastery, where I’ve spent the past week working on the book I’m writing about conversion, is participating in communal prayer with the sisters who live here. Although I didn’t find either the book or movie version of Eat, Pray, Love to be compelling, I do love the Eat, Pray, Work (not necessarily in that order) rhythm of Benedictine community.

Morning prayer each day is preceded by a reading from The Rule of Benedict.

The Rule of Benedict, written around 530, is a set of precepts for those living in community. Benedict intended the Rule, which is based on his own experience and observation living in monastic communities, as a guide to those living in the monasteries he founded. He also expressed the with that the rule “be read often in the community, so that none can offer the excuse of ignorance.”

The Rule still offers good advice today – and advice useful for all of us, not only those living a monastic life. And I love the practice of taking a small segment to listen to and reflect on each day.

For most of the days I’ve been here, we listened to passages from the Prologue. I invite you to take a look at it if you are not already familiar with the Rule of Benedict. The Prologue on the link I’ve provided you is divided into daily passages, as it would be read in a monastery. It would be a worthwhile exercise to see what some of the passages have to say to you about your own discipleship.

I will leave St. Benedict’s Monastery this afternoon, filled with gratitude to the Sisters there for welcoming me into their community during this visit, as they have during my previous times here.