Icon of St. Benedict
I love monastics, I think some of the richest most spiritual traditions of the church come from the Desert Fathers and Mothers as well as the medievals. St. Anthony, St Benedict, St. Francis and Claire of Asssi, Julian of Norwich, Teresa of Avila, and others have contributed much to our understand of God. Two of my favourite books have had monks has their central characters: Canticle of Lebowitz and Chasing Francis.
I am also enamoured with the concept of a Rule or Regula. There are many ways to interpret what a rule is or can be, especially to non-monastics. Margaret Guenther, who’s book At Home in the World is formational on this topic, states that a rule is about cultivating simplicity by focussing on the essentials. Here’s a short video of her answering the question “What is a rule of life”. It’s great.
There’s more reasons why I’m bringing up the monastics and I’ll be posting more soon.
I have a growing fascination with the monastic life, that is, the lives of Monks and Nuns. Those Christians who choose to live in community with others for the purposes of sharing life together. One of the key markers of that life together is constant prayer. You talk about prayer warriors, these guys and gals take the cake. They rise at 3am to pray and will pray 3 other times through the day. The rest of the day is spent in service to God by serving others in community or to whatever visitors they may welcome in during the day.
Life in a monastic community is guided by a “Rule”, the most famous of which is probably the Rule of St. Benedict. It quite literally lays the groundwork for how life is to be conducted.
I am married and so along with being a Catholic Priest, being a monk is not an available career path (I much prefer the sacrament of marriage by the way – just to be clear). I am however, fascinating with what this ancient rule can teach us about how we can practically bring life to our faith in our own communities; whether it be at work, at home, or at church.
As I work my way through reading The Rule of St. Benedict, I will post comments and insights here.