Daily Reading from the Rule of Benedict

Yesterday's Reading

About the Rule of Benedict

Benedict of Nursia was born in the year 480. As a student in Rome, he tired of the decadent culture around him and left to live a simple spiritual life as a hermit in the countryside of Subiaco about thirty miles outside of the city. It wasn't long, however, before he was discovered both by the people of the area and disciples who were themselves looking for a more meaningful way of life. Out of these associations sprang the monastic life that would eventually cover Europe.

The Rule of Benedict is not a treatise in systematic theology. Its logic is the logic of daily life lived in Christ and lived well. This early monastic rule is part of the Wisdom tradition of Christianity and is rooted in the Bible for its inspiration and its end. It deals with the meaning and purpose of life. The positions taken in the Rule in the light of themes in the wisdom literature of other culture find Benedict of Nursia in the stream of thinkers who lived out of a single tradition but from the perspective of universal and fundamental insights into life.

Excerpted from The Rule of Benedict: Insights for the Ages by Joan Chittister, OSB

February 6, 2016
Chapter 7

The ninth step of humility is that we control our tongues and remain silent, not speaking unless asked a question, for scripture warns, "In a flood of words you will not avoid sinning (Prv 10:19)," and "A talkative person goes about aimlessly on earth (Ps 140:12)."

When arrogance erupts anywhere, it erupts invariably in speech. Our opinions become the rule. Our ideas become the goal. Our judgments become the norm. Our word becomes the last word, the only word. To be the last one into a conversation, instead of the first, is an unheard of assault on our egos. Benedict says, over and over, listen, learn, be open to the other. That is the ground of humility. And humility is the ground of growth and graced relationships on earth. Humility is what makes the powerful accessible to the powerless. Humility is what allows poor nations a demand on rich ones. Humility is what enables the learned to learn from the wise.

The Rule of Benedict Insights for the Ages

Is there a great spiritual tradition that deals with the contemporary issues facing the human community? In her new introduction to the Rule, Joan Chittister boldly claims that Benedict’s sixth-century text is the only one of the great traditions that directly touches today’s issues: stewardship, conversion, communication, reflection, contemplation, humility and equality. Tracing Benedict’s original Rule paragraph by paragraph, the new book expands the principles of the Rule into the larger context of spiritual living in a secular world and makes the seemingly archaic instructions relevant for a contemporary audience. A new foreword, updated content, an appendix, a Gregorian Chant download and a recommended calendar for reading the entries and commentaries make this an invaluable resource for solitary or communal contemplation. (Crossroad; Paperback) Order here.