Reading and reflecting on the Rule of St Benedict

In a monastery, a section from the Rule of St Benedict is traditionally read everyday at chapter - the short set of prayers after Prime.  The text has actually been divided into daily chunks to enable the requirement that novices hear the Rule in full three times in the course of a year to be fulfilled.  And today being September 1, the reading of the Rule of St Benedict starts again from the Prologue.

Reading a section of the Rule each day is a good spiritual practice for all interested in Benedictine spirituality (count it towards your spiritual reading for the day), and there are plenty of translations about. The best in book form, in my opinion, is still the one by Abbot Justin McCann (which you can buy with parallel Latin text).  But you can get a daily section of the Boyle translation delivered to your inbox through the official OSB website if that is more convenient.

If you want to dig a little into what the Rule means, you probably need to find a good commentary.  There are lots around.  But just how truly 'Benedictine', insightful or orthodox they are is a matter of debate - be wary!

An excellent starting point, recommended by most of the traditional monasteries (and many of the less traditional ones), is Dom Delatte's classic.  It is fairly detailed in places, but you can skim the parts that don't interest you, and focus in on the gems of spiritual wisdom!

In terms of contemporary commentaries available online, I would recommend that by Abbot Philip Lawrence of Christ in the Desert Monastery.

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