Saturday, February 23, 2013

Quick look at the Benedictine Way of LIfe

            In short there are a few main elements to St. Benedict’s Rule. He required that life kept in a certain manner unlike Basil; he provided his monks detailed instructions about what to do and when it needed to be done.[1] Some of these things included that his monks would eat two meals a day with two cooked dishes along with fruits and vegetables, along with a moderate amount of wine.[2]Also, each monk would have a bed that included a cover and pillow, but if times were hard the monks should be happy with what they had.[3]
            Benedict also felt that there should be physical labor on the part of everyone, except in severe cases of illness or unique giftedness; everyone was to take turns in every task.[4] He also felt that prayer was an extremely important part of the monastic lifestyle.[5] Order ruled everything that Benedict did or chose to establish. According to Ferguson, “It introduced stability into monastic life in contrast to wandering monks or the small groups that had no discipline. The life of Benedictine monks was to be a balanced regimen of divine praise, spiritual reading, and physical work.”[6]
            There are many things that modern evangelical Christians can take away from monasticism. For the most part I believe we do not practice discipline as much as we should. I do not mean physical discipline but the spiritual kind where we read Scripture often or other works that would help us to edify the body; or as I am guilty no praying as often as we feel lead to. Or practicing the presence of God, how often we enter into a place of praise to God outside of the “sanctuary” of the church. If we are the church then everywhere we go should be a sanctuary unto the Lord.  Something many of us do not realize that work is a great thing and can ALWAYS be used to the glory of God. John Piper has an article about glorifying God at work that may be found as an encouragement. I will struggle with this because I suffer from fibromyalgia and have a hard time doing most things anymore; my ultimate goal no matter what should be to glorify God in all things. I hope these principles help you grow closer to Jesus each day.

[1] Everett Ferguson, Church History Vol One: From Christ to Pre-Reformation. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2005)317.
[2] Justo L.Gonzalez, The Story of Christianity Vol One: The Early Church to the Dawn of the Reformation. (New York: Harper Collins, 2010)278.

[3] Ibid., 278.
[4] Ibid., 279.
[5] Ibid., 280
[6] Ferguson, Church History, 318.

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