St Benedict wrote his Rule, a detailed book of instructions for monastic living, in the early 6th century, and thousands of Benedictine monks and nuns lead lives based on it to this day. In this book Esther de Waal gives a concise introduction to St Benedict’s Rule aimed at modern lay people. The monastic life that St Benedict envisaged is not one of great asceticism: rather work, prayer, and study are to be held in balance, and all of them are to be done to the glory of God. (He memorably urges monks to treat kitchen utensils with the same respect as the altar vessels). St Benedict’s understanding of the difficulties of communal living and his compassionate view of human frailty are both wise and practical, and often sound disarmingly modern. Whilst most of the specific prescriptions of the Rule are of little relevance to present day lay people, the spirit of it undoubtedly is. For those wishing to know more about it this is an excellent place to start.
About the Author
ESTHER DE WAAL enjoys a worldwide reputation as a writer, speaker and retreat leader in the areas of monastic spirituality (especially Benedictine) and Celtic spirituality. Her books have been translated into numerous languages and include the classic Seeking God which has been in print for over 25 years. She lives near Hereford.