The wisdom of Benedict’s Rule lies in its flexibility, tolerance for individual differences, and openness to change. For 1,500 years, it has remained a powerful and relevant guide for those who would seek God in the ordinary circumstances of life.
When Benedict wrote his Rule, society seemed to be falling apart. Though materially prosperous, the Roman Empire was in a state of decline. After Benedict’s death, barbarian hordes would overrun Europe and the very survival of Western civilization would be called into question. Benedictine monasteries—with their message of balance and moderation, stability, hospitality, and stewardship—were credited with the preservation of Western culture, and Benedict himself was named patron of Europe.
Benedictine values are as necessary today as they were in the sixth century. In an era of countless personal and societal sins—materialism, greed, prejudice, hatred, violence, and the destruction of the earth and its resources—Benedict’s Rule remains a powerful alternative. It’s another way of viewing life and people and things that finds meaning in the ordinary and makes each day a revelation of the divine.
by Sister Jane Michele McClure, OSB