In her Preface, Esther de Waal also bring Benedict’s Rule into our lives today, showing how it is having a powerful influence upon the movement referred to as “the new monasticism.”
In that regard, I want to recommend a brand-new book by Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, The Rule of St. Benedict: A Contemporary Paraphrase (Paraclete Press). You will recall that Jonathan is one of the leaders in “the new monasticism” and overseer of a monastic community in Durham, North Carolina. It is very important to note that he has chosen to re-present The Rule of Benedict to contemporary readers (along with a multi-session video for group study).
His effort only reinforces what Esther de Waal wrote about, “great numbers of people–people busy with work and family commitments, many finding it stressful to hold together the demands of their busy and complicated lives–are today turning to the monastic tradition” (p. 11).
She notes that a growing number of people are seeking “a structure and order (both external and interior) that they could make prayer the one essential priority, the central focus of everything else….but which sadly the institutional Church, with all its many organizations, its talk and busy-ness, its concern with management and efficiency and statements about issues, does not seem to make a priority” (p. 11).
This, she believes, is the purpose of the Rule—to provide a structure and order so that everything flows from one center.
Our ongoing exploration of the Rule is intended to enable us to raise our sails and allow the Spirit to fill them and move us in this transformative way.