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Seeking God: The Way of St. Benedict

4.19  ·  Rating Details  ·  294 Ratings  ·  32 Reviews

For over fifteen hundred years St. Benedict's Rule has been a source of guidance, support, inspiration, challenge, comfort and discomfort for men and women. It has helped both those living under monastic vows and those living outside the cloister in all the mess and muddle of ordinary, busy lives in the world. Esther de Waal's Seeking God serves as an introducti
Paperback, 168 pages
Published March 1st 2001 by Liturgical Press (first published 1984)
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Seeking God by Esther de WaalThe Rule of Saint Benedict by Benedict of NursiaRB 1980 by Benedict of NursiaA Life-Giving Way by Esther de WaalThe Benedictine Handbook by Anthony Marett-Crosby
Benedictine Spirituality
1st out of 21 books — 10 voters
Catechism of the Catholic Church by Pope John Paul IIStory of a Soul by Thérèse de LisieuxThe Confessions by Augustine of HippoThe New American Bible by AnonymousDark Night of the Soul by Juan de la Cruz
Roman Catholic Reading
291st out of 328 books — 185 voters

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Community Reviews

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Aug 14, 2009 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing
As I write this, I am about 2/3 of the way through -- I read a few pages as part of my "quiet time" in the mornings. This was one of the books our Rector recommended during the Lenten study, and a friend urged me to read it too. It is a companion to St. Benedict’s “Rule” which I found on the Internet. Since St. Benedict was writing directly for his fellow monks, our rector suggested that as we read The Rule, to think of the monastery as the church and the monks as Christians. In that way, The Ru ...more
Diane Bruce
Feb 15, 2013 Diane Bruce rated it it was amazing
One of the books that I love!
Dec 28, 2013 Phil rated it it was amazing
Shelves: christian
This is one of my perennial re-reads, but I'm reviewing it anyway. If I had done that meme from a month or two ago that asked for the ten books which have stayed with me, this would be on the list. It is the the book which first exposed me to Benedictine spirituality which has become quite an important aspect of my spiritual life. The irony, of course, is that I've never gone on retreat to a Benedictine community, but I find so much to apply to my daily life that it doesn't seem to matter which ...more
Dec 08, 2012 Suzanne rated it it was amazing
Having recently begun to work at a Benedictine institution, I began reading Esther de Waal's book in hopes of finding a more approachable means of studying Benedictine life than a simple reading of the Rule, which can be rather dry. She is a layperson, an Anglican who has chosen to live the Rule. Her perspective, that of an intelligent woman, wife and mother, illuminates the Rule of Benedict and makes parallels to lay living in a way that a simple reading of the Rule does not.

An example would b
Cindy Z
Mar 14, 2014 Cindy Z rated it really liked it
My favorite quote from this book...
So the scriptures are mouthed with the lips, understood by the intelligence, fixed by the memory, and finally the will comes into play and what has been read is also put into practice. The act of reading makes the reader become a different person; reading cannot be separated from living. (page 148)
Evan Hays
Sep 20, 2013 Evan Hays rated it it was amazing
Shelves: theology, devotional
I love Esther deWaal's work. I want to read everything she has written because she does such a good job of getting to the heart of ancient Christian thinking and practice and making it accessible to our world today. She has a love for the theology, history, and every day life of the people she describes.

I read this one while I was reading the Rule of St. Benedict, and it very much helped inform my reading. It is a nice short work that breaks the Rule down into important themes. Her references to
Terry Watson
Dec 03, 2015 Terry Watson rated it really liked it
Excellent discussion of St Benedict's Rule and how it can apply to our daily lives. A very helpful book.
Apr 04, 2015 Andrea rated it it was amazing
Beautiful companion to the Rule of St. Benedict, and how to apply the principles to everyday living.
Heather Tomlinson

This is a modern commentary on the Rule of Benedict. It's interesting and accessible, though I couldn't always relate to it.
Ed Wojniak
Apr 26, 2015 Ed Wojniak rated it really liked it
Shelves: spirituality
A very good book for those who are looking for a concise, organized presentation of the essential elements of the Rule of St. Benedict. Honestly, it made the Rule seem more attractive to me than my read of the Rule itself. So, through this reading the Rule becomes an appeal to listening, stability, an appreciation of change and balance, a better understanding of the presence of God in material things, people and authority, while enlivening for me the sometimes stale act of prayer.
May 12, 2008 Michelle rated it it was amazing
De Waal's interpretation of the Rule yields accessibility not adaptability. She doesn't pander and she doesn't summarize, she merely measuredly expounds: The key to understanding and applying St. Benedict's rule is found within the rule itself. She doesn't offer a quick fix; she adheres to St. Benedict's vision that there is no short cut to the rule and for that I love this book.
Adam Shaeffer
Sep 26, 2012 Adam Shaeffer rated it it was amazing
I loved this little book.I could gush for pages (and in fact I already have for a class assignment), but I won't. Suffice to say that this brief book was truly moving and reminded me that if I can't find God right here and right now, I won't find Him anywhere.

May my heart strings vibrate their "YES!" to the making one.
Andrew Marr
Esther de Waal pioneered what has become a significant movement in spirituality: to apply the Rule of Benedict for non-monastics. The beautiful meditative style of Esther's writing is conducive to this purpose as is the author's wisdom. Writing as a Benedictine monk myself, I commend de Waal's insight into the Rule.
Candace Simar
Jun 10, 2015 Candace Simar rated it it was amazing
This is a great book, one that i read slowly and thoughtfully. I love the balance and sensibility of Benedictine spirituality, and this book did not disappoint. I'd recommend it to anyone hoping to deepen their sense of God in a troubled world.
Mar 29, 2010 Ike rated it really liked it
A wonderful little book that turns the Rule of St. Benedict into 10 overarching principles that can be followed by those individuals not called to a monastic life. But she avoids creating rules for us to follow and instead shows us a way of living.
Elizabeth (Liz)
Jul 07, 2011 Elizabeth (Liz) rated it it was amazing
I will be reading it again. Hopefully soon. Seems a very clear look at Benedictine theology & life, as well as what it might look like for those of us who aren't called to monasteries to still live attentively & obediently & alive.
Mar 05, 2016 Emilie rated it really liked it
A very good book to meditate over; with themes like Stability, Change, Balance; a very good contextualization/comment on St. Benedict’s Rules. I only wish there were more practical examples, but even then, it’s very good.
Charles Bell
Mar 30, 2010 Charles Bell rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: those interested in a spiritual discipline
Well written and short enough to read in 2 or 3 days. It took that long because I kept pausing to think about what was said. I will go back and reread because it is like eating a rich steak. It is to be savored.
Oct 24, 2008 Shelley rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Shelley by: Jeremy Jones
Absolutely fascinating! If you do pick up this book (if, in fact, anyone reads this review) the chapters on Stability and People are the best and must be read. In my case, they were read and re-read.
Girl With A Book
Sep 18, 2010 Girl With A Book rated it it was amazing
Perfect companion piece to Kathleen Norris "Quotidian Mysteries"

"written as monks guide on how to live the Gospel in Community"

Although I've read it before, I'm taking it off the shelf to ingest.
Jan 11, 2008 Maryfrances rated it really liked it
This book show us the of living of Benedictine monks. It is was great to see how I could apply this to my daily life, especially in areas of stability and balance, and truly living a simple life.
May 15, 2013 Joseph rated it liked it
Twice I have read this volume. It brings the richness of the Benedictine monastic experience to the hubbub of now. It reminds us that it is possible.
Apr 11, 2009 Jodi rated it it was amazing
Absolute handbook for anyone committed to the Benedictine life and community as I am. Good for anyone looking at humanity and spirituality.
Dean P.
Jul 01, 2009 Dean P. rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
De Waal does a good job of capturing all of the aspects of Benedict's Rule and explaining them in an engaging way. Highly recommended.
Matt Woodle
Jun 26, 2008 Matt Woodle rated it really liked it
Great overview of Benedictine spirituality and how it relates to our lives today. Benedict was a genuis!
Ramona Stone
Aug 20, 2011 Ramona Stone rated it it was amazing
Would give it more stars if I could. I loved this book. My husband has read this book like 12 times.
David Kirkpatrick
Jul 27, 2013 David Kirkpatrick rated it it was amazing
Authentic reflections on St Benedict from an active woman. Helpful for daily spiritual reading.
Jul 25, 2010 Marianna rated it really liked it
An explanation of The Rule of St Benedict with special emphasis on applying to daily life.
Jul 09, 2008 Debbie rated it it was amazing
another book to be read and re-read. more to be gleaned from it each time.
May 06, 2008 Elizabeth rated it really liked it
A highly academic spiritual book, based on the Rule of St. Benedict.
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“Stability says there must be no evasion; instead attend to the real, to the real necessity however uncomfortable that might be. Stability brings us from a feeling of alienation, perhaps from the escape into fantasy and daydreaming, into the state of reality. It will not allow us to evade the inner truth of whatever it is that we have to do, however dreary and boring and apparently unfruitful that may seem. It involves the particular demands of whatever this task and this moment in time is asking; no more and no less.” 5 likes
“But so many people find themselves in a situation of enclosure, in a marriage or a career, with the fundamental difference that by their refusal to accept it it has become a trap from which they long to escape, perhaps by actually running away, perhaps by resorting to the daydreaming which begins with that insidious little phrase 'if only...' Family life which is boring, a marriage which has grown stale, an office job which has become deadening are only too familiar. Our difficulty lies in the way in which we fail to meet those demands with anything more than the mere grudging minimum which will never allow them to become creative.” 0 likes
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