“Listen Carefully . . .” So begins the Rule of St. Benedict.
Listening is not an activity the world finds easy. There are many distractions – noise, television, violence, competing moral values, the internet – in short, we rarely assume a contemplative attitude in our lives.
Yet, at the heart of our Christian vocation is the summons to listen to God’s word spoken to us in His Son. In this way, we hope to transform our lives, becoming signs to all people of God’s presence.
The early church answered this call by living in community, praying together, sharing material goods, and performing acts of charity (cf. Acts 2:42-47). They practiced the life Christ wished for them.
The traditions of early monks were incorporated by St. Benedict into his Rule for monasteries. It remains, aside from the Scriptures, the most important document to shape the development of monastic and religious life throughout Europe.
Its longevity is testimony to his great spiritual wisdom, balance, flexibility, and penetration of Christian life. Benedictine monks and nuns are found worldwide, always seeking to follow the life of the Rule adapted to the modern world.
The chief work of the monk is performing the divine office and the liturgy in the context of fulfilling the precepts of St. Benedict’s Rule – sacred reading, prayer, routine monastic duties and manual work when you’re able. “Then are they truly monks when they labor with their hands.”