Everyone who reads the Benedictine Rule is struck by its moderation, for St. Benedict offers a way of life that is open to anyone who truly seeks God and is willing to entrust his spiritual journey to the wise guidance of the Rule and of the abbot of a particular monastery. Benedictine Rule - The Rule of St. Benedict 528AD. He was probably aware of the Rule written by Pachomius (or attributed to him), and his Rule also shows influence by the Rule of St Augustine of Hippo and the writings of Saint John Cassian. I don't know what it is, but it is not Benedictine. Once he has climbed all these steps of humility, the monk will arrive at the love of God, which being perfect casts out fear. Thus any claim to be in need is removed. The Rule of St Benedict by Benedict of Nursia (fl. The latter is expected to integrate manual labor, prayer, and study into a daily routine. The postulant first spends a short time as a guest; then he is admitted to the. If you were going to create a religious community yourself, how would it be different, and how would it be similar to Benedict’s? Some decades later, the monastery was destroyed and not rebuilt for a long time. The monks formed a sort of corporation, presided over by an abbot, who held office for life. At the heart of reform movements, past and present, lie Hermeneutical questions about what fidelity to tradition means. Benedictines read a portion of the Rule of Benedict every day. If we can live by the Rule, then Saint Benedict thinks that we have at least some degree of virtue and the beginning of a monastic life. Do you think that such a system would make you personally more worshipful or more ready to say a few words and go back to bed or whatever else you were doing?  Saint Benedict's work expounded upon preconceived ideas that were present in the religious community only making minor changes more in line with the time period relevant to his system. They are to set an example of humility, and can only exercise their priestly functions by permission of the abbot. Benedict’s Rule, a model of Christian discipleship that was community-centered, has endured as a living text for more than 1500 years, making it, according to some, the most influential text on Western society after the Bible. Oblates promise to lead an enriched Christian life according to the gospel as reflected in the Rule of St. Benedict. Is self-esteem an over-rated modern concern, or something Christians should pursue? If he does not change, let him come under the correction of the Rule in such a way that others may fear. It is clear that Benedict based his Rule not only on his own experience but also on the writings of other monastic authors, especially a document known as the Rule of the Master. In the West in about the year 500, Benedict became so upset by the immorality of society in Rome that he gave up his studies there, at age fourteen, and chose the life of an ascetic monk in the pursuit of personal holiness, living as a hermit in a cave near the rugged region of Subiaco. Christian monasticism first appeared in the Egyptian desert, in the Eastern Roman Empire a few generations before Benedict of Nursia. In this way they share in the spiritual benefits of the sons and daughters of Benedict who are dedicated to the monastic life by vow. 6th century) is a book of precepts written for monks living in community under the authority of an abbot. Because they wear black habits, Benedictine monks are often called “Black Monks.” The Benedictine order is a federation of independent monasteries dating back to the lifetime of St. Benedict, who first established a hermitage … They provide teaching about the basic monastic virtues of humility, silence, and obedience as well as directives for daily living. Kardong, T. (2001). One of many rules, the Rule of St Benedict was simple and adaptable and gave priority to communal life based on a balance of Prayer and Work. The rules he established were called Benedictine Rule. It also incorporated a degree of democracy in a non-democratic society, and dignified manual labor. They are directed to join in spirit, as far as possible, with their brothers in the monastery at the regular hours of prayers. Saint John's alumni are part of a 1,500-year Benedictine Catholic tradition. Benedictine definition is - a monk or a nun of one of the congregations following the rule of St. Benedict and devoted especially to scholarship and liturgical worship. To subject oneself, for the love of God, to a Superior, in all obedience, imitating the Lord of whom the Apostle says: “He became obedient unto death” (Phil 2:8). They were founded by Saint Benedict of Nursia, a 6th-century monk who laid the foundations of Benedictine monasticism through the formulation of his Rule of Saint Benedict. The spirit of St Benedict's Rule is summed up in the motto of the Benedictine Confederation: pax ("peace") and the traditional ora et labora ("pray and work"). ", No language corresponding to the last sentence about "two stout monks" appears in the Rule, though it is a popular myth that it does, with several reputable publications (and more than one church, and at least one Benedictine organization) repeating and propagating the error. In fact, there is something very 'English' about Benedict, with his calmness, his gift for organization and his occasional touches of humour. So, let us offer praise to our Creator “for his righteous ordinances", at Lauds, Prime, Tierce, Sext, Nones, Vespers, and Compline, and let us rise at night to praise him. Chapter 59 allows the admission of boys to the monastery under certain conditions. To hide no evil thoughts or secret sins from one’s Abbot, but to confess them humbly. Most people used to the freedoms and luxuries of life in the modern West would find it too demanding but in its historical context, it would not have been seen that way. Edited and prepared for the web by Dan Graves. Search for: Prayer + Chant. 14:11] The steps of humility: 1. Chapter 22 regulates the dormitory. In time, setting an example with his zeal, he began to attract disciples. Because of this, almost all the Rule is applicable to communities of women under the authority of an abbess. The version above, first published in Hubbard's Little Journeys (1908), omits a part of the passage which enjoins the monastery, given good behaviour, to accept the guest as a permanent resident. The Rule of Saint Benedict (Latin: Regula Sancti Benedicti) is a book of precepts written in 516 by Benedict of Nursia (c. AD 480–550) for monks living communally under the authority of an abbot. Chapter 55 says clothing is to be adequate and suited to the climate and locality, at the discretion of the abbot. In 520 CE, a priest named Benedict built a monastery in Italy. Fry, RB 1980, p. The Rule: A Guide for Oblates. Chapter 70 prohibits them from striking one another. Chapters 43-46 define penalties for minor faults, such as coming late to prayer or meals. The Rule … In recent years discussions have occasionally been held[by whom?] Chapter 21 regulates the appointment of a. This actually makes it earlier, as a document, than some of the ones in the Early Church volume; but it belongs in the Middle Ages because it was lived out day by day by countless monks and nuns across the whole of Europe throughout every century of that period. Facts about Benedictine Rule 2: the spirit. 2. The Abbot, however, should look to the size, too make sure that they are not too small, but fitted for those who are to wear them. It evokes the name of St. Benedict, who lived in the 6th century, together with all those who have been inspired by the Rule of Benedict and associate themselves with the Benedictine spiritual tradition. [Reading silently to oneself was almost unheard of.] In 520 CE, a priest named Benedict built a monastery in Italy. His Rule was written as a guide for individual, autonomous communities, and all Benedictine Houses (and the Congregations in which they have grouped themselves) still remain self-governing. These are essentially the duties of every Christian and are mainly Scriptural either in letter or in spirit. Let us do what the prophet says: “I will take heed of my ways, so that I do not sin not with my tongue. The rule, which spread slowly in Italy and Gaul, provided a complete directory for both the government and the spiritual and material well-being of a monastery by carefully integrating prayer, manual labour, and study into a well-rounded daily routine. Chapter 62 deals with the ordination of priests from within the monastic community. These services could be very long, sometimes lasting till dawn, but usually consisted of a chant, three antiphons, three psalms, and three lessons, along with celebrations of any local saints' days. The Rule of Benedict covers and pretty much dictates all of the elements of a monk’s life, prayer, free time, work, community life. A Brief History of the Benedictine Order Traditionally, AD 529 is considered to be the year in which St Benedict founded the monastery at Montecassino. The Rule of St Benedict by Benedict of Nursia (fl. Are things more likely to be cared for if everyone owns them or if one person owns them? A large group of qualified scholars from the English Benedictine Congregation here collaborate to explore the living of the Rule. The Rule. The latter is expected to integrate manual labor, prayer, and study into a daily routine. Benedict contributed more than anyone else to the rise of monasticism in the West. The Rule of St. Benedict 3 dislike they esteem unlawful. Benedictine values by translating those values into our everyday lives at Stella Maris. 18:21]. His Rule was the foundational document for thousands of religious communities in the Middle Ages. Monks (men) - Benedictine Rule: A monk is a man who has chosen to devote his life to a certain discipline of prayer. The Rule of St Benedict is a guide to direct our pathway to God. 10:19] and “Death and life are in the power of the tongue” [Prov. [These services were every two or three hours throughout the day.] Perhaps that is why Benedictine monasticism, for both men and women, became so pronounced a feature of English Church life before the Reformation. , During the more than 1500 years of their existence, the Benedictines have not been immune to periods of laxity and decline, often following periods of greater prosperity and an attendant relaxing of discipline. He proposes to establish a "school for the Lord's service" (Prol. Christian History Institute. If you go to a place and there is no there, there, it's not a Benedictine place. If we ought sometimes to refrain from useful speech for the sake of silence, how much more should we to abstain from evil words because of the punishment due to sin? The Benedictine rule offers a comprehensive directory for reaching the main idea of both spiritual and physical well-being of a monastery or monk. Benedict lived in the sixth century AD and came from Nursia in Umbria. Monks dressed in loose brown robes, tied at the waist with a cord. These values give us a set of practices for a life modeled on Jesus. I believe, however, that for a temperate climate a cowl and a tunic are enough for each monk — a woolen cowl for winter and a thin or worn one for summer — along with a cloak for work, and socks and shoes. Chapter 19 emphasizes the reverence owed to the omnipresent God. Chapter 6 recommends moderation in the use of speech, but does not enjoin strict silence, nor prohibit profitable or necessary conversation. 9:7]. St. Benedict wrote his rule, the so-called Benedictine Rule, c. 535–540 with his own abbey of Montecassino in mind. Chapter 48 emphasizes the importance of daily manual labour appropriate to the ability of the monk. This rulebook for the monastic life was written by Benedict around 530. It was founded by St Benedict in c. 540. How would your life be different if you belonged to such a community? He founded his own monastery in 529. What are the advantages and disadvantages of a community of sworn obedience? Chapter 2: What Kind of Man the Abbot Ought to Be . Monks (men) - Benedictine Rule: A monk is a man who has chosen to devote his life to a certain discipline of prayer. Having the mind of a beginner, being receptive to starting anew, starting fresh, starting over–this, too, is a Benedictine practice. Chapter 68 orders that all cheerfully try to do whatever is commanded, however hard it may seem. 3. Does the Bible teach this viewpoint? Above all, let one or two of the senior monks be appointed to go about the monastery during the reading time, and look out for any lazy brother giving himself over to idleness or vain talk, being unprofitable to himself and disturbing others. When they have been washed, let them say, “We have received your mercy, O God, in the midst of your temple” [Ps 48:10]. 18:13]. 6th century) is a book of precepts written for monks living in community under the authority of an abbot.Since about the 7th century it has been adopted with equal success by communities of women. They then gathered in Chapter to receive instructions for the day and to attend to any judicial business. Consensus for Benedict lies in following the decision of the superior, even when the superior is stubborn, contradictory and stupid. When a guest is announced, let him be met with all charity. According to these rules, priests could not marry, could not own goods, and had to obey their abbot. Then came private Mass or spiritual reading or work until 9am when the office of Terce was said, and then High Mass. So, considering the importance of silence, permission to speak should be seldom given to perfect disciples, even for good and holy conversation, for it is written: “If you talk a lot you shall not escape sin", [Prov. But the Abbot must remember, “Distribution was made to everyone according to his need.” [Acts 4:35]. Wathen, Ambrose G. Silence: The Meaning in the Rule … 480—ca. equals [saying] 'Work!'" Then, after lunch, let them rest in bed in complete silence — or if anyone wants to read for himself, let him read quietly enough not to disturb others. "OSB. Do we ever really own anything, even when it “belongs” to us, or are we, at best, stewards of what God has made? Not to love one’s own will or wish to fulfill one’s own desires, rather obeying the word of the Lord: “I came not to do My own will but the will of Him that sent Me” [Jn 6:38]. [The nighttime service was called Matins.]. Chapter 54 forbids the monks to receive letters or gifts without the abbot's leave. The rules he established were called Benedictine Rule. In such times, dynamic Benedictines have often led reform movements to return to a stricter observance of both the letter and spirit of the Rule of St Benedict, at least as they understood it. What happens if the man in power is not godly, or is given to fads? The Rule of St. Benedict is a timeless document - in so many ways as fresh and relevant as it was when it was written almost fifteen hundred years ago. The duration of labour varies with the season but is never less than five hours a day. Chapter 61 provides for the reception of strange monks as guests, and for their admission to the community. The Benedictines, officially the Order of Saint Benedict, are a monastic religious order of the Catholic Church following the Rule of Saint Benedict. The latter would refer to two major components of a monastic life: first prayer and then work to support the community and its charities. For example, are sixth-century objectives, like blending in with contemporary dress or providing service to visitors, better served or compromised by retaining sixth-century clothing or by insisting that service excludes formal educational enterprises? It must be as plain and cheap as is consistent with due economy. L et us get up then, at long last, for the Scriptures rouse us 3 when they say, “It is high time for us to arise from sleep” The Abbot should break his fast in deference to the guest, unless it is a day of solemn fast, which cannot be broken.  Even more impressively, Benedictines are widely credited with having saved Western civilization from the ravages of the barbarian invasions. Chapter 6: Of Silence . (Do not give anyone the kiss of peace before a prayer has been said, in case of satanic deception.) The abbot made the rules or laws of the monastery. , An early source for the quotation is the University of California, Berkeley faculty club, which has, for years, posted a version of the above passage on its bulletin board in Gothic script. To be slow to laugh, for it is written: “The fool raises his voice in laughter” [Wisdom 21:23]. At the work of God, in the garden, on a journey, in the field, wherever you may be, sitting, walking or standing, always bow your head. This full commentary -- predominately literary and historical criticism -- is based on and includes a Latin text of Regula Benedicti (Liturgical Press). It evokes the name of St. Benedict, who lived in the 6th century, together with all those who have been inspired by the Rule of Benedict and associate themselves with the Benedictine spiritual tradition. Anglican Benedictine Monk from Nashdom Abbey writes. Chapters 50 and 51 contain rules for monks working in the fields or travelling. ... That is the secret of Benedictine prayer. To control the monks of Monte Cassino St. Benedict framed a Rule, or constitution, which was modelled in some respects upon the earlier Rule of St. The Rule always acknowledged that the life of the hermit was the ideal and, even in the fourteenth century, most Benedictine monasteries had two … As for bedding, a straw mattress, a blanket, a bedspread and a pillow are enough. The Rule of Saint Benedict has been used by Benedictines for 15 centuries, and thus St. Benedict is sometimes regarded as the founder of Western monasticism due to reform that his rules had on the current Catholic hierarchy. Boniface Verheyen, OSB. Each monk is allowed a pound of bread and a. Chapter 30 directs that a wayward brother who has left the monastery must be received again, if he promises to make amends; but if he leaves again, and again, after the third time all return is finally barred. All guests who arrive should be received as Christ, so that he will say, “I was a stranger and you took me in” [Mt 25:35]. The Abbot should give clothes to the brothers according to the climate in which they live. Of course, the whole Rule is about our relationship with God and is permeated with the spirit of prayer, but Benedict’s explicit treatment of the subject is very short, very simple and takes a lifetime to understand fully. Chapter 73, an epilogue, declares that the Rule is not offered as an ideal of perfection, but merely as a means towards godliness, intended chiefly for beginners in the spiritual life. The Rule of St Benedict Trans. Chapter 7: Of Humility . Chapter 63 lays down that precedence in the community shall be determined by the date of admission, merit of life, or the appointment of the abbot. At noon came the office of Sext and the midday meal. Chapter 4 lists 73 "tools for good work", "tools of the spiritual craft" for the "workshop" that is "the enclosure of the monastery and the stability in the community". The Sitemap provides full details of all of the information and facts provided about the fascinating subject of the Middle Ages! : the renunciation of one's own will and the taking up of arms under the banner of Christ… 45) in which the "way to salvation" (Prol. Chapter 49 recommends some voluntary self-denial for. The Rule itself is the best witness to Benedict's life and character, showing us someone who was wise, kind, steeped in scripture and concise in expression. Saint Benedict and the Twelfth-Century Reformation. St Benedict lived in the 5th century, and wrote his famous Rule as a practical guide for abbots and brother monks living together in a monastic community. The monastic community and the living tradition The Rule is comprised of 73 short chapters, containing two kinds of wisdom: spiritual and administrative. They must look for all necessities from the Abbot, and have nothing without his permission. It argued that that interpretation is a result of urban legend and that the actual motto is Ora et labora, meaning "pray and work!" Boniface Verheyen, OSB. For centuries, Benedictine monks have embraced Benedict’s Rule as their guide to monastic life. This page was last edited on 26 December 2020, at 19:39. Advantages seen in retaining this unique Benedictine emphasis on autonomy include cultivating models of tightly bonded communities and contemplative lifestyles. Benedict's influence was very strong. Within a generation, both solitary as well as communal monasticism became very popular which spread outside of Egypt, first to Palestine and the Judean Desert and thence to Syria and North Africa. The Rule always acknowledged that the life of the hermit was the ideal and, even in the fourteenth century, most Benedictine monasteries had two or three … Translated by Rev. Let everyone have all things in common, as it is written, no one kept anything as his own [Acts 4:32]. This appeal to multiple groups would later make the Rule of Saint Benedict an integral set of guidelines for the development of the Christian faith. There is a formation process whereby interested men and women learn about the Benedictine way of life. Monks should not worry about the color or the texture of these clothes: they should be whatever you can get most cheaply. St Benedict and his Rule Possibly the most famous Rule is that of St Benedict. Priesthood was not initially an important part of Benedictine monasticism – monks used the services of their local priest. The Benedictine Rule is strict—its main theme being absolute obedience to the Abbot. 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