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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A way of life, 1 April 2005
By 
Kurt Messick "FrKurt Messick" (London, SW1) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Rule of Benedict: Insights for the Ages (Crossroad Spiritual Legacy) (Paperback)
The Rule of St. Benedict itself is a fairly short book, usually printed in fewer than 100 pages, with its 73 chapters of a few paragraphs in length at most. However, often a simple reading of the Rule leaves modern readers dis-satisfied; it is a rule in many ways of and for a different world, just as the biblical texts can be so characterised. However, it is also, like the Bible, a text that speaks to us today, and has application and inspiration for modern followers.
Benedict's Rule for life includes worship, work, study, prayer, and relaxation. Benedict's Rule requires community -- even for those who become hermits or solitaries, there is a link to the community through worship and through the Rule. No one is alone. This is an important part of the relationship of God to the world, so it is an integral part of the Rule.
Benedict's Rule was set out first in a world that was torn with warfare, economic and political upheaval, and a generally harsh physical environment. This Rule was set out to bring order to a general chaos in which people lived. This is still true today, and men and women all over the world use Benedict's 'little rule for beginners' as a basic structure for their lives.
The first word of the rule is Listen. This is perhaps the best advice for anyone looking for any guidance or rule of life. While Benedict's Rule is decidedly Christocentric and hierarchical (though not as hierarchical as much popular ideas about monastic practice would have one think), it nonetheless can give value to any reader who is looking to construct a practice for oneself.
Benedict's establishment of a monastery was in fact the establishment of a school for spirituality. In his prologue to the Rule, Benedict even states this as his intention. In drawing up its regulations, he intends to set down 'nothing harsh, nothing burdensome.' He sets forth in this brief rule a guide to individual life within community that will bring one ever closer to the divine.
Benedict explores the issues of charity, personality, integrity, and spirituality in all of his rules. From the clothing to the prayer cycle to the reception of guests, all have a purpose that fits into a larger whole, and all have positive charges and negative warnings. Benedict is especially mindful of the sin of pride, be it pride of possession, pride of person, pride of place -- he strives for equality in the community (as a recognition that all are equal before God).
Joan Chittister's commentary is brilliant, as always with her writing. This relates the timeless rule to the timeliness of the world today. This is an excellent resource, and an excellent guide.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brings alive an ancient rule, 15 Aug 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: The Rule of Benedict: Insights for the Ages (Crossroad Spiritual Legacy) (Paperback)
Joan Chittester makes the rule of st benedict come alive for the twenty first century. Insightful and thoughtful, she brings to the book a lifetime of living the rule, yet makes it relevant for readers outside of benedictine communities. I was impressed by the strong voice for social justice that comes through, and by the constant theme of living life in its fullness - something not always associated with community living in the minds of those outside. All in all, this is a good, challenging book, which asks us to look anew at our own lives and reflect on the journey we have embarked on. I never thought I would be interested in reading a monastic rule - it is to Joan Chittester's credit that she brings it alive and shows us its relevance today.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic made digestible, 17 Feb 2014
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Tim (Bridgnorth, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Rule of Benedict: Insights for the Ages (Crossroad Spiritual Legacy) (Paperback)
This is a great book, because the commentary is easy to understand and encourages me to grow in humility in my daily life.
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The Rule of Benedict: Insights for the Ages (Crossroad Spiritual Legacy)
The Rule of Benedict: Insights for the Ages (Crossroad Spiritual Legacy) by Sister Joan D. Chittister (Paperback - 2 Oct 1992)
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