"Listen!" begins Benedict, writing in the 6th century to those who wish to be bound together in Christian community under his Rule, which he calls a little rule for beginners. He invites the monk to be renewed daily by the call of God to live in community, faithfully obedient to God and to abbot (who in turn must reflect he humility and self-sacrifice of Christ's leadership), seeking always a "conversatio morum", a conversion of life. Benedict's Rule formed the guidelines for western monastic life, but it speaks to us today with remarkable freshness and candour, of a way of life centred on Christ and on Biblical teaching, with a humanity that recognizes human weakness and the challenges of community life. His Rule today inspires not only monastic communities but also the Benedictine oblates, who pattern their lives on Benedict's rich wisdom as they live, attached to a monastic community, but out in the world. Parts of the Rule, dealing with matters such as the cycle of daily prayer, may be less obviously appealing, but in every chapter there is something that speaks to our own communities, whether at home, school, work or elsewhere, and which inspires us to live with renewed commitment and vigour. The Rule is truly a spiritual masterpiece and jewel.
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