Those Boring Benedictines  

Posted by Joe Rawls in

Br Stephen, OCist, is a monk of the Cistercian abbey of Our Lady of Spring Bank in Sparta, Wisconsin. In this post on his blog Sub Tuum he contrasts the Benedictines, whose principal raison d'etre is communal prayer and personal contemplation, with other orders that have more visible (flashier?) ministries. Read the whole post for full effect. Written on August 8, the feast of St Dominic, it ends thus: "With apologies to St Dominic, not that he was particularly nice to us."

In short, we have no charism. We're not practicing the spirituality of X while doing work Y and wearing the habit of Z. We have no distinct spirituality though it can sometimes look as if we do since we have maintained the office while it has gone by the wayside to varying degrees elsewhere. We have no manuals or exercises. We have no distinctive apostolate. We wear a basic habit free of distinctive trinkets. In 1500 years the Benedictine family has produced preachers, teachers, mystics, and theologians, but the first task was always simply to seek God and try to save our own souls. A Benedictine monastery is just a place to try to live out the Christian life. It ultimately has no other purpose or mission.

...In summary, if you're looking for a rather pedestrian life, don't mind a boring outfit, think repetition is cool, and can't keep up with trends, the Benedictine charism may be just the thing for you.

This entry was posted on Sunday, August 16, 2009 at Sunday, August 16, 2009 and is filed under . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


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