On Wednesdays at 7:00 p.m. during June, I will be leading a study based on a book by Jane Tomaine: St. Benedict's Toolbox, The Nuts and Bolts of Everyday Benedictine Living ISBN 0-8192-2152-X. This will be held at King of Peace Episcopal Church in Kingsland, GA. See www.kingofpeace.org for directions. You are welcome to sit in on the discussions regardless, but your enjoyment of them would be enriched is you could read the book ahead of time.
From http://www.historyguide.org/ancient/lecture19b.html comes this background information about St. Benedict:
It was ST. BENEDICT OF NURSIA (c.480-c.543) who brought uniformity and order into the early medieval monastic movement. The Benedictine Rule, as it became known, is the only surviving work in his own hand and, as a result, there is considerable controversy surrounding its composition. Spending his youth as a student at Rome, Benedict was disgusted by the vice and corruption he encountered in the papal city. He fled into the wilderness and, as so often happened with ascetics like Benedict, he began to attract disciples. Benedict organized these disciples into communities, originally at Subiaco. Driven from Subiaco by a jealous priest, Benedict founded a new community at Monte Cassino (529). Toward the end of his life, Benedict drew up his rule for this community. The Rule served as a constitution to be applied to many communities. Endowed the full authority, it was the abbot who had sovereignty over the community -- he was elected for life and could not be replaced. A monk could neither leave the community nor could he refuse obedience.
Here is a typical admonition from St. Benedict to his monks:
Your way of acting should be different from the world's way: the Love of Christ must come before all else.
You are not to act in anger
or nurse a grudge.
Rid your heart of all deceit.
Never give a hollow greeting of peace
or turn away when someone needs your love.
(Rule of St. Benedict 4:20-26)
St. Anselm wrote in a letter to a friend in 1093:
"Continue to keep a warm love for me. . . . I cannot be with you physically but my heart is always with you. Like me make efforts to win friends everywhere. . . . Do not think you will ever have enough. Be bound to all, whether rich or poor, in brotherly sympathy. This letter is a document of the heart."
Here is a word from Esther de Waal, who wrote Seeking God, The Way of St. Benedict:
"Love, trust, acceptance -- these are things that I receive from Christ, and it is only as I come to know and to love Christ and to realize that I am known and loved, that I can also love my fellows. My primary relationship is with Christ; it is through him that I forge my link with others, and that gradually I grow towards maturity in loving, in the giving and receiving of love."
The Rev. Linda McCloud
The Episcopal Church of Our Savior at Honey Creek