Of all the monastic rules, perhaps the most valuable is the Rule of Saint Benedict.
Today, the “Rule of Saint Benedict,” as it is commonly called, is considered one of the most important factors in the development of Christian Europe. Although written for monastics, many of the issues addressed in the Rule can be applied to life in the world outside the monastic community.
The Rule of Saint Benedict The Rule of St. Benedict is a timeless document - in so many ways as fresh and relevant as it was when it was written almost fifteen hundred years ago. Wise and enduring spiritual guidelines for everyday living –– as relevant today as when The Rule was originally conceived by St. Benedict in fifth century Rome.
The Rule of St. Benedict (RB) became a foundational text for monasticism in the West, having emerged in the sixth century as the Roman civilization was collapsing. The Rule of Benedict (RB) constitutes the basic guide for thousands of Christians who are committed to the monastic movement.
Life in medieval Europe was incomparably poorer and more restricted than it is today: the life Benedict describes would be a step up for the poorest people and not much of a step down for the rest. The Rule of St. Benedict is not only the basic guide for living for monks of various orders (Benedictine, Cistercian, et cetera), but is also the inspiration for today’s neo-monastic movements in cities around the world. During his lifetime, the monastery at Monte Cassino grew and a foundation was made south of Rome, at Terracina. St. Benedict’s rule was comprised of several rules which could be applied to a variety of monasteries and locations. Even though his rule was not the first, it was the most widely used in the west for centuries.
The author clearly explains the relevance of the Rule for our lives today and often surprises with fresh insights as to how society's problems could be overcome if people understood the meaning of St Benedict's rule in today's context. This early monastic rule is part of the Wisdom tradition of Christianity and is rooted in the Bible for its inspiration and its end.
In time, the Rule became the norm for all monks and nuns in the West. Marked by common sense in every instance, the Rule of Saint Benedict makes success in a man’s quest for God seem not only possible, but eminently probable. “An invitation to spirituality for the many who don’t think they are ‘spiritual’ – but far more than an invitation, a lengthy, wisdom-filled conversation.”
His rule’s primary emphasis was on: moderation, the integration of prayer and work, and the socialization of the monastic life.
Almost all we know about St Benedict comes from St Gregory the Great's Dialogues, where he says that Benedict, vir Dei benedictus, the blessed man of God, 'wrote a Rule for monks that is remarkable for its discretion and its clarity of language' (Dialogues, Book 11, ch. In Egypt, the followers of St. Anthony were purely eremetical, whilst those who followed the Rule of St. Pachomius, though they more nearly approached the cenobitical ideal, were yet without that element of stability insisted upon by St. Benedict, viz: the "common life" and family spirit.
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