Following the Rule

February 22, 2011 by  
Filed under Perspectives, Worship Is

Saint Benedict wrote his Rule, a guide for communal living in monasteries, in the 6th century, but groups of nuns, monks and monastic visitors continue to follow these principles..

The Rule of Saint Benedict emphasizes prayer and work, and Benedictine communities usually involve large amounts of both. Although application of the Rule varies in different communities, members often observe periods of silence, participate in liturgical and private prayer throughout the day, and submit their own will to the good of other members in the community.

Author Kathleen Norris spent two years living in a Benedictine community and wrote The Cloister Walk to share her experience. Following the Rule transformed her daily life in subtle ways.

“Gradually my perspective on time had changed,” she writes. “In our culture, time can seem like an enemy: it chews us up and spits us out with appalling ease. But the monastic perspective welcomes time as a gift from God, and seeks to put it to good use rather than allowing us to be used up by it……Liturgical time is essentially poetic time, oriented toward process rather than productivity, willing to wait attentively in stillness rather than always pushing to ‘get the job done.'”