Friday, July 11, 2008

Feast Day of St. Benedict of Nursia -- July 11

Although it's highly unlikely I'd last longer than one cycle of the LOTH before getting booted out of a Benedictine monastery, I'm a fan of The Rule of St. Benedict.

I'm such a fan of its durable wisdom that during the ashram years I bought copies of McQuiston's contemporary interpretation of The Rule for everyone on the senior management team there. Hot flash: Like the Church, ashrams have senior management that, like the Church, only a bold few refer to as such. (See: Ch. 5 of The Rule for reasons why I wouldn't last longer than one cycle of the LOTH.)

What I love is the wise way St. Benedict integrates and balances prayer, work, and service into daily life. I love the core ethic that, "All who arrive as guests are to be welcomed like Christ..." (Ch. 53:1)

What I do not love in The Rule includes these lines from "The Tools of Good Works":
  • Not to utter words that are foolish and provoke laughter. (Ch. 4:53)
  • Not to love much or unrestrained laughter. (Ch. 4:54)
Was he kidding?

Also not keen on St. Benedict's views about sleeping arrangements (Ch. 22) or disciplinary measures (Ch. 23-26, 28, 30) which explains, in part, why I'm drawn to hermitic rather than monastic life. Still, this hasn't stopped me from treasuring personal retreats at Holy Cross Monastery.

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