For the Feast of Saint Benedict | July 11th 2021

For the Feast of Saint Benedict | July 11th 2021

Benedictine spiritual tradition offers an important voice in our world today, informing our praying, living and discerning. Benedictine life speaks to contemporary hearts and is particularly unique in its lasting impact on Western Christianity. The word "Benedictine" is relatively modern, scarcely existing before the 17th century. It evokes the name of St. Benedict, who lived in the 6th century and whose Feast Day is July 11. For over a thousand years, Benedictine monks around the world have followed the daily pattern of morning, noon, and evening prayer known as the Liturgy of the Hours, or the Divine Office. The spirituality of St. Benedict offers those who follow its path, a way to faith-filled living through work, prayer, learning and living in community. Come follow along! 

Gathered from the Benedictine tradition, the prayers included The Saint Benedict Prayer Book grew up around the celebration of the Divine Office—embellishing it, illuminating it, and echoing it for generations of the faithful. The Saint Benedict Prayer Book reclaims little-known prayers (Little Offices, Commemorations, and Litanies) from long ago. For anyone seeking a way of prayer rooted in ancient wisdom, this little book offers a sure path.

“Good lives are hard to come by.” writes Annie Dillard. Reflecting on what makes a good life, Robert Benson offers a warmhearted and humorous guide to enriching our lives in Good Life: Benedict's Guide to Everyday Joy. Benson reflects on the wisdom of St Benedict; each chapter is shaped around a Benedictine principle: prayer, rest, community, and work, revealing the brilliant and infinitely practical ways that Benedictine spirituality can shape our lives today. Benson is honest and wise, sharing his own failings and the constant tension between the demands of the temporal and the spiritual. In the world of conflicting priorities and the frenetic pace of modern life Good Life is a welcome treat for the soul.

Michael Casey, a monk and scholar who has been publishing wise teachings on the Rule of St. Benedict for decades. Strangers to the City is no exception, turning to particular Benedictine values most urgent for Christians in their lives today. Eloquent and incisive, Casey invites readers to accept that gospel living - seen in the light of the Rule - involves accepting the challenge of being different from the secular culture around us. He encourages readers to set clear goals and objectives, to be honest about the practical ways in which priorities may have to change to meet these goals, and to have the courage to implement these changes both daily and for the future. If you want to make a change in how you live your life, this book will definitely help.

Radical Hospitality by Lonni Pratt with Father Daniel Homan OSB is another invaluable collection of Benedictine wisdom by which to live. Today's culture is increasingly hostile and suspicious toward anyone who appears to be different. Our instinct is to bolt our doors and protect the ones we love. But.....deep within the heart of Benedictine spirituality lies a remedy to hatred, fear, and suspicion: HOSPITALITY! At once deeply comforting and sharply challenging, true Benedictine hospitality requires welcoming the stranger, not only into our homes, but into our hearts. With warmth and humor, Pratt and Homan encourage us to embrace not only the literal stranger, but the stranger within and without in ourselves and in those we love.

If you are looking ahead for a Christmas and Advent reader, or gift, Anselm Grün, Benedictine monk offers a daily reader, Your Light Gives Us Hope including simple and often direct Advent reflections. Anselm Grün shows the reader how to approach the festive season consciously, making it a blessed time for ourselves and our families. He draws on his experience as a spiritual director to offer practices for personal devotion or for family prayer for each day of Advent. Also included are special reflections for the Sundays of the season. 

Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove’s The Rule of Saint Benedict Contemporary Paraphrase presents the timeless wisdom of the Rule in a vibrant new language rendering this sixth-century classic more accessible.“Listen, my child. I want you to place the ear of your heart on the solid ground of the master's wisdom (what I received, I’m passing on to you). 
This advice is from a spiritual father who loves you and gives you the sort of counsel that will shape your whole life.”Any student or follower of the Rule will discover in this paraphrase a vital new expression. The full text is included with detailed explanatory notes.
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