The Rule of Saint Benedict - Essay Example

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The Rule of Saint Benedict Instructor Date Introduction The Rule of Saint Benedict is a set of rules that was authored by Saint Benedict of Nursia (c.480–547) meant to act as a guideline for monks living in communal space, mostly in a monastery where they are under an abbot’s authority…
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The Rule of Saint Benedict
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Download file to see previous pages One of the reasons why it was and remains so popular is its objectivity, which makes it much more sustainable than related precepts especially because it allows for a moderate line between the zeal of individual devotion and institutionalism1. The rule was essentially designed to create an environment in which the needs of monks in communities could be provided to foster a deeper understanding into human nature, providing spiritual mentorship, support the monk’s ascetic endeavors and develop spiritual growth. This paper will endeavor to analyze the text by primarily focusing on; the historical context in which the Rule emerged, the factors that drove Saint Benedict to write it, his secondary sources of information and the role the rules played and continue to play in religious and non-religious discourse. For as long as it has existed, the rule has been used by Benedictine monks and to many scholars, saint Benedict is considered to be the originator of western monasticism although historians had suggested that he probably had no outward intention of starting a religious order. Among the many advantages of these rules is that they allow of communities of monks to be autonomous and thus operate without outside influence or direct co-operation. Consequently, communities that apply these rules have enjoyed a variety of benefits from the accruing independence such as the development of close internal bonds and more contemplative lifestyles without outside distraction. While the book is quite explicit on some of it requirements, it is not iron clad and it allows the Abbott to use his discretion when circumstances demand it.2 The lessons, according to Benedict were not meant to dictate but provide a guide of those wishing to spend their lives in holy contemplation especially beginners. Overview The rule has seventy-three chapters and these are divided into edicts about the duties of the abbot, regulation of worshiping God, chastisement and consequences for breaking rules, the core management of the monastery and miscellaneous rules. It prologues with a hortary preface through which Saint Benedict lays down the basic tenets of the religious life and the renunciation of an individual’s will to take up a life of Christ In his summation, the rules will serve as the foundation for the formation of a school in which salvation shall the taught as a science. Through their perseverance in the monastery for the duration of their natural lives, monks will be deemed as qualified to be partakers of the kingdom of Christ Owing to the scope of the rules, it is not possible to summarize it explicitly by the chapter since that would require an entire paper of considerable length. Nevertheless, several of the rules, which have a bearing on the historical context to the text, will be briefly discussed herein. Benedict makes it clear that the rule is only relevant to two classes of monks, those are the Cenobites, Hermits, and it precludes the Gyrovagi and Sarabites who did not follow any specific code and were, in Benedict’s opinion a disgrace to the monastic profession. He emphasizes on the authority of the abbot who all the monks must obey without question and in the selfsame way requires the abbot is an honorable and godly individual. Concerning the personal lives of the monk, the rules demand that they must live frugally and what little they have such as extra clothes should be ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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