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

June 18, 2018
Chapter 14
The Celebration of Vigils on the Anniversaries of Saints

On the feasts of saints, and indeed on all solemn festivals, the Sunday order of celebrations is followed, although the psalms, refrains and readings proper to the day itself are said. The procedure, however, remains the same as indicated above.

The meaning of this chapter is not so much in its content as in its existence. The fact that it is here at all in a document written when the identification of saints was largely a matter of public acclamation and then far fewer than they are now says something about Benedict's ideas both about church and the meaning of prayer. Benedict's theology of prayer is as much attuned to the Communion of Saints, to our connectedness to those who have gone before us in the faith, to those who stand as sign to us that the Christian life is possible, as it is to the feasts that mark the Paschal Mystery of Christ.

We all need heroes. We all need someone in our lives who brings courage. We all need to get to know how the Christian life looks at its best, at its most difficult, at its most joyous.

The lesson is that we must keep the human dimensions of the faith very much in mind and find in models from the past proof that daily chaos can be ordered and the ordinary transfigured for us, too.

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.