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Rule of Benedict: A Spirituality for the 21st Century (Spiritual Legacy Series)

4.27  ·  Rating details ·  645 ratings  ·  60 reviews
This new edition of a classic religious text combines the timeless wisdom of Benedict of Nursia's Rule with the perceptive commentary of a renowned Benedictine mystic and scholar. In her new introduction to the Rule, the author boldly claims that Benedict's sixth-century text is the only one of great traditions that directly touches the contemporary issues facing the human
Kindle Edition, 329 pages
Published January 9th 2017 by Crossroad (first published October 25th 1992)
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The insights gained from this book are powerful, and derived from just a few minutes a day of reading. I highly recommend this book as a starting point for anyone with a busy schedule. After reading it, you will find, as I did, how much can be done in life to walk closer with Christ.
Nov 03, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The Rule of Benedict was originally written more than 1,500 years ago. Chittester's book reproduces the rule (73 rules actually)with commentary for the modern reader.

The material is good and I would have given the book five stars if not for Chittester's insistence on making everything "gender neutral." Replacing the word "abbot" with "prioress or abbot" makes parts of the book tedious to read.

I would still reccommend the book to anyone interested in Benedictine spiritually. Just be prepared to w
Deacon Tom F
Aug 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing

Great reflections and direct applications to daily life. Although it is a life lesson for us Benedictines and Oblates, Sr. Joan writes for all. Great Read.
Sep 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Over the past several years, my friendship with Brother Cassian, one of the monks at the Monastery of the Holy Spirit in Conyers, GA, has been a special blessing. I visit him occasionally, usually arriving at the monastery in time to join the community for Vespers, singing the Psalms set to Gregorian Chants, which is done antiphonally from choir stalls facing each other across the nave of the monastery church. Cassian was our prayer partner this past week because on Wednesday, after his first fi
Dec 04, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: daily
My first four-month daily reading of the Rule of Benedict with Joan Chittister's commentary (which was getting repetitive).
May 04, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Rule of Benedict is a simple rule book for monastic life that was written over 1500 years ago. In it one can learn about the importance of community life within the monastery. Each and every person is to submit to the rule, although all throughout there are exceptions because of unforeseen situations, and disobedience in regards to the rule will result in varying degrees of punishment. The rule speaks about all the various tasks that occur in a monastery whether the work of God or the work ...more
Brian Ross
Sep 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book provides an introduction, in the form of the full text and accompanying commentary, to the Rule of Benedict. Benedict of Nursia cited as the founder of western monasticism, wrote his rule in the 6th Century and it lives to this day. His rule describes both the principles and practice of monastery life (the Benedictine user manual, so to speak).

The Benedictine Rule was notable for many things, including preaching a course of moderation (not extreme asceticism, for instance), a life roo
Feb 20, 2017 rated it liked it
This book is a fairly good introduction to the Rule Of Benedict. It was helpful to have commentary to help interpret the original text. In some ways though the interpretation was a bit lacking. At times the author seemed to think there was nothing redeeming about modern society. It's a point that you an argue but the reality is that we are not all going to live in monasteries.
Mar 09, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm not even Catholic but even I can get behind the Rules of Saint Benedict. I like this volume because it relates how people can apply to rule of St. Benedict everyday in their lives. I also love how the author incorporates the teachings of other religions into the book.
Donna, Walks In Spirit
I had to read chapters of this for my class. I ended up reading the entire book. Joan Chittister did a great job of explaining the rules, in the context of other religions.

Our assignment helped us to write our own rules of life.

A must read for those looking for structure & a deeper meaning.
Leah Colbeck
Not an easy read by any means but full of challenging, inspiring and centring wisdom. There is a lot to process here. I recommend more as a daily devotional than a read straight through book.
Nancy Jurss
St. Benedict wrote the rule for his monasteries in 516. This became the foundation for thousands of monasteries in the Middle Ages and is the most common one used in today's monasteries. Before Benedict, most monks lived a life of extreme poverty and severe self-discipline. Benedict called for moderation and balance. Monks prayed for eight hours, worked and read for eight hours, and slept for eight hours. Chittister's interpretation adapts it for modern times and relates it to those living outsi ...more
Christy Baker
Feb 05, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: religion
This book had been recommended to me by my spiritual director and a women's spiritual direction group I was in a fair number of years ago. I'd picked it up a couple of different times, but hadn't really resonated with it on first attempt. This time, I read through the daily readings to completion, but don't think I will continue with the recommended three times of reading through for a full year. Once feels sufficient for what I want to get out of it, even as I'm sure different depth and nuance ...more
Don Dunnington
Mar 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this as part of my Lenten observance. I found Chittister's commentary on the Rule helpful and challenging, making clear the focus and practice of Benedictine spirituality. Reading and discussing this book with a small group would be a valuable experience. I plan to read it again to be reminded of important aspects of the life of prayer and Christian community. As I read, I noted many comments I wanted to preserve--they are listed here:

“Obedience, Benedict says – the willingness to listen
Jul 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sometimes start and end dates are deceptive and they are here. It looks like I've been reading this book shockingly long, but, really, I'm on my third way through it. That is an indication I may be liking it. It is also an indication of what kind of book it is.

This is a commentary by the notable nun, Sister Joan Chittister, on the Rule of Commentary. What makes it especially useful is that it is organized into daily chunks and put into a calendar which allows one to read it through three times.
Bob Price
Dec 31, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Looking for a 'good' devotional? Then look no further, the Rule of Benedict is here!

Joan Chittister has done the Church a great favor by taking Benedict's Rule and arranging it for daily reading.

The Rule is good enough to stand on it's own, but Chittster has added daily thoughts to help the reader understand it and apply it to their lives in the 21st Century. She has taken a perfect text for because Benedict, while being strict to modern standards, is very adaptable for modern life. While it be
Nov 07, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is not my favorite commentary on the Rule of St Benedict but it is a good place to start. In short daily essays, Sr. Joan goes through the ROB relating it to today’s world. It was helpful to me in providing an entry into this document from the 6th century. Human nature hasn’t changed and Benedict demonstrated keen insight into the challenges inherent in trying to follow a Christian lifestyle. Most of us function in communities of one type or another -families, friends, coworkers, churches, ...more
Aug 19, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was a helpful and insightful book. With a book like this it certainly does seem possible that one could treat their own life as ones monastery. These seemingly monastic rules have been given a contemporary "living in the world" understanding as well and I think people would benefit from reading this book, it is somewhat simplistic making it easy for people to read. Nonetheless, I feel that this book reminds me of the scene in the New Testament when Jesus was asked what is The Greatest ...more
Jun 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am currently on my second reading of this fine little book, and fully expect to begin reading it again upon completion. "The Rule" is intended as part of daily reading of the Benedictine monastic tradition. Sr. Joan provides commentary that breathes life into the ancient text, giving reverence to Benedict's wisdom and providing a life-affirming understanding of the rule as it applies to life today.

This volume is intended to be read as part of a daily routine. Each day provides wisdom to savor
Jan 22, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a day by day read, cycled through x 3 in calendar year -- the first time through, as part of a Lay Chaplaincy class, I was unimpressed but for a few comments noted in yellow marker -- being me, I had to go the distance -- second time through, huh, starting to hear some bells of spiritual sense -- liking her use of the Tao, and Jewish wisdom inserted - more markings in black ink ... Third time through, red ink and folded corners -- it's now among my possible re-reads .. took a while, but ...more
Bonnie Westmark
Feb 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was my 26th Chittister book and a required reading for us Benedictine Oblates at St. Placid Priory. We will be discussing it each month during our meetings. I can't get enough of Joan Chittister and truly believe she is a gift from God. Her perspective on the Rule helped me to gain insight and understand the reasoning behind it. She also helped me to apply it to my own life few as a teacher, friend, daughter, mother, grandmother and member of our society. I highly recommend this book to any ...more
Steven Strothman
While I marked this book as finished, I did not finish this book. I tired of reading it and found many parts of it not applicable to me and my life. A book like this would typically receive one star from me, but there are a couple great sections. The best was the section on humility. I am a person that firmly believes that humility is waining in our society. I also know that I am person that fights being prideful. So the ability to take some time and reflect on this difficult trait to ascertain ...more
Aug 02, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book offers much to ponder on humility, obedience, community, balance, leadership and simplicity. The commentary is alternated with Benedict's text to give insight for application in the contemporary non-monastic Christian life. The book is arranged by date for three reading cycles per year, and I am trying to read a section each day. This has become a grounding experience for me as I face the daily struggles of this world.
Apr 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As a Benedictine Oblate reading and reflecting on the Rule is a daily ritual. This rendering takes the Rule into the 21st Century with thought provoking reflections. Sr. Joan's often used references to non-Christian ancient wisdom is refreshing and helps keeps meditations on a global perspective.
Jan 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone wishing to deepen his or her spirituality and especially Oblate novices
Shelves: spiritual
A Benedictine Oblate is to read part of the Rule each day, reading the whole Rule three times a year. this book follows that recommendation, each day providing clarification of the Rule in today's world. Sister Joan provides so much spiritual insight. I highly recommend this book for Oblate novices and even into one's second year.

I shall certainly read it again.
Bernard Glover
Mar 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sr. Joan has a way of delving into the depths of even the most obscure texts of the rule and finding wisdom for the ages. She shows how Benedict's wisdom has value for everyone in today's at times negative culture. I have read it many times as it forms an important part of one's daily reading from the rule.
Sep 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The author, Joan Chittister, is herself a Benedictine Sister, and in this book she provides extensive commentary on the Rule of St. Benedict which the Saint himself composed some 1,500 years ago. She shows how the Rule has relevance today for anyone seeking after God in today's world. Excellent for either individual reading or for a group study.
Kevin Orth
Oct 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wonderful interpretation - in that it is gender neutral, appreciative of Taoist and Jewish awareness of Source while remaining true to the nature, meaning, and purpose of the The Rule of Benedict. Coming from a mystical Christian perspective, these elements ring true and make the text much more in line with my experience of the Divine. Highly recommend!
Aug 23, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: innerwork
Joan Chittister...what can I say... she renders this ancient document to us in a very accessible way. Whether you agree with the path of monasticism or not, there is much wisdom here for consideration.
Ann M
Dec 06, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Ann M by: curiosity
A straightforward presentation of Benedict's rule for communal living. It's not a literary masterpiece, but an interesting approach to a democratic, simple, sustainable life. If you are interested, I recommend it. It won't appeal to everyone.
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