Saint Benedict for the Laity

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ISBN 0-8146-1595-3

Published almost thirty years ago this book has value and is still available new today.  It was written by Eric Dean, a Britisher who lived in the USA and had been a layman, husband, parent and Presbyterian minister as well as an oblate of a Benedictine Monastery and professor of humanities at a college.  So, someone of wide ranging experience and wrote this book for the help of those who were seeking to incorporate into their daily lives something of the wisdom of the Rule of St Benedict, written fourteen hundred years ago and undergirding much of monastic practices ever since.  Most of us live our lives in what is called nowadays ‘the secular sphere’ and have no hope and perhaps no desire to entire into the quiet and slow steady realms of monastic life, not to mention the celibacy and life time commitment required.  Nevertheless, there is need to come under the school of Christ and something of this school lies at the heart of Benedict’s rule.  Short chapters are the heart of this book, they are really commentaries on some of the particular elements of the rule that can be undertaken and built into the daily life of those engaged in the humdrum of family and work.  Humility, discipline, commitment, possessing and using, service, the tools of community, these are some of the topics examined and there are some real challenges here, challenges to the evangelical and charismatic Christians of today.  Anyone who has trodden, even for a little while, the cloister of an old monastic building will assuredly sense the prayerful silence that still lingers there.  As we know, prayerful silence was not all there was to the cloistered life, they worked, served their community, struggled and overcame and worshipped the Lord God.  In a way, like rocks in the midst of the troubled seas.  Something of this life must be built into ours and to this end Eric Dean has written, sometimes most pertinently applying elements of the monastic disciplines to the daily life most Christians lead in these noisy, busy and unhappy days.   

Last modified: December 8, 2016

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