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Rule of Saint Benedict

Author(s): Thomas Merton

ISBN13: 9780879070199

ISBN10: 0879070196


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  • In his novitiate conferences on the Rule of Saint Benedict, Thomas Merton introduces young men embarking on monastic life to the guiding document of that life. He emphasizes the importance of considering the Rule from a perspective that is neither narrowly legalistic nor overly intellectualized, but marked rather by commitment to the goal of Benedictine monasticism, which is not just to obey the Rule but to love and serve God. The Benedictine life, according to Merton, is "simply living the Gospel without fanfare ... The mainspring of everything in St. Benedict is the love of Christ-in Himself, in the poor, in the monastic community, in the individual brethren ... This is the key to the monastic life and spirit." Merton gives particular attention to the prologue, in which he finds "the theological foundation of the whole spiritual doctrine of St. Benedict"; key chapters on the abbot and the monastic community, including consideration of monastic work, spiritual reading, and poverty; and especially chapter 7, on the degrees of humility, which he considers the heart of the entire Rule. In these conferences, Merton presents a spiritual commentary on the Rule that provides insight both on his role as a director of prospective young monks and on the foundation of his own commitment to monastic and contemplative life.
  • Thomas Merton

    Thomas Merton (1915-1968) was a Trappist monk, writer and activist for peace and civil rights. Merton’s works have had a profound impact on contemporary religious and philosophical thought.

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Rule of Saint Benedict