Benedict’s Rule: Decisive Formation

Esther de Waal’s book is so well written, we don’t want to overlook any “pearl of great price” in its pages.

Just as Kathleen Norris’ Foreword yielded valuable insights, we find additional gems in de Waal’s Preface.

John Main’s assertion that “the Rule is the most decisive document for Christian living after the Bible” is correct.  I went a long time without knowing that, and I am not trying to elevate it to any special status in pointing it out.

But as I have come to learn more about the Rule, I have come to see its pervasive influence upon the formation of Christianity.  I have come to see that its influence includes both the religious (priests, monks, and nuns) and the laity.  I have come to see that it has influenced Roman Catholicism, Orthodoxy, and Protestantism.  And I have discovered a direct connection between Benedict and the John Wesley.

All to say that as we move through the Rule a second time—this time thematically—we are dealing with material God has seen fit to use across the centuries to bless innumerable people.  God willing….we will now be among them.  May God give us grace to experience it as de Waal describes it, as a “spring or source that is constantly fresh” (p. 10).

About Steve Harper

Retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 42 books. Also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
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