The Rule of St. Benedict
'The Rule of St. Benedict ' Summary
The Rule of Saint Benedict is a book of precepts written in 516 by Benedict of Nursia for monks living communally under the authority of an abbot.
The spirit of Saint Benedict's Rule is summed up in the motto of the Benedictine Confederation and the traditional ora et labora. Compared to other precepts, the Rule provides a moderate path between individual zeal and formulaic institutionalism; because of this middle ground it has been widely popular. Benedict's concerns were the needs of monks in a community environment: namely, to establish due order, to foster an understanding of the relational nature of human beings, and to provide a spiritual father to support and strengthen the individual's ascetic effort and the spiritual growth that is required for the fulfillment of the human vocation, theosis.
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. There is, however, no evidence to suggest that Benedict intended to found a religious order in the modern sense and it was not until the Late Middle Ages that mention was made of an "Order of Saint Benedict". His Rule was written as a guide for individual, autonomous communities, and all Benedictine Houses still remain self-governing. Advantages seen in retaining this unique Benedictine emphasis on autonomy include cultivating models of tightly bonded communities and contemplative lifestyles. Perceived disadvantages comprise geographical isolation from important activities in adjacent communities. Other perceived losses include inefficiency and lack of mobility in the service of others, and insufficient appeal to potential members. These different emphases emerged within the framework of the Rule in the course of history and are to some extent present within the Benedictine Confederation and the Cistercian Orders of the Common and the Strict Observance.
Published In516 CE
Saint Benedict of Nursia
Benedict of Nursia OSB is a Christian saint venerated in the Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Oriental Orthodox Churches, the Anglican Communion and Old Catholic Churches. He is a pat...More on Saint Benedict of Nursia
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