Rediscovering The Rule of St. Benedict

When I lived in Winnipeg one of my favourite places was a convent/retreat centre north of the city. It was a Benedictine centre and so one of its focuses was hospitality. They were great at it.

While there I started to learn about the Rule of St. Benedict. Benedict was a 6th century Italian monk who started a monastic movement that spread throughout the west. The movement did not focus on right belief but on right action. The rule emphasized humility, loving kindness, prayer, mediation, and simplicity. These focuses are so life transforming that the Benedictine way has moved beyond the monastic communities and into the lives of lay people.

John McQuiston II, a lawyer in Memphis Tennessee, has written “Always We Begin Again”, a contemporary summary of St. Benedict’s rule. It is brilliant and challenging. For example here is one line from the first rule, “live this life and do whatever is done in a spirit of loving kindness. Abandon attempts to achieve security, they are futile. Give up the search for wealth, it is demeaning. Quit the search for salvation, it is selfish.” Isn’t that brilliant!

I have been working through his little book all this Lent and it is incredibly calming. Susan and I always joke that in retirement our home will be a monastery. If it is we will follow the Benedictine path.


p.s. “Always We Begin Again” is a Morehouse Publishing book.