Kirk’s Book of the Week: The Rule of St. Benedict
This is one of those books I mention a lot. And if you haven’t read it, let me make my case for why it’s worth taking a look…
- It’s short!
- It’s free!
- It has greatly influenced the shape of spiritual practice in the church for the last 1,500 years
- It offers a stunningly helpful picture of a life in rhythm with our own humanity
Yes it’s old (written in 53o). And it was written to shape life in the monastery (and most of us are not monastics). But the great gift of The Rule is that it gives a picture life in which prayer and “life” are in sync. Prayer matches the times and seasons. And times and seasons are set aside for prayer.
In particular, there is, in The Rule, a constant awareness of the human condition. And thus the need for structure and for enforcing discipline as well as deep patience and humility and an acceptance of the truth that progress is slow. We must not let our frailty be an excuse for laxity. But we must never strive to be more than human. Our work is to construct a pattern of life that moves between effort and rest, prayer and study, worship and community… And that is true as much for those outside the monastery as those within it.
As busy people in a very hectic world, we would do well to receive some ancient wisdom about slowing down, about stability and obedience.
Thanks to the good people at CCEL, The Rule is available to download in a variety of formats (including as a FREE AUDIO BOOK). And if you like paper, its easily available in print.
Do yourself a solid and give Benedict a few minutes. I think he’ll give you far more in return.