Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Benedictine Spirituality

As an Oblate of St. Benedict, I think of myself as a fundamental Christian. Don't let that scare you because it has nothing to do with the ideas of Post-Reformation fundamentalism. By this I mean that I've returned, or perhaps it would be more appropriate to say that I am returning, to the basics of the faith, basics that were set forth in an orderly fashion some 1500 years ago by St. Benedict, basics that are as valid today as they were when St. Benedict distilled the best wisdom of his day into the Gospel based Holy Rule of St. Benedict.

In the preface to the 4th Edition of the Manual For Oblates printed by St. John's Abbey Press it says, "The Christians of today have been told repeated by they spiritual leaders that the neo-paganism of today is perhaps more subtle, more dangerous, more widespread than the paganism of Greece and Rome at the time of St. Benedict. In every phase of life do Christians meet danger to their souls - in their amusements, in their books and periodicals, in their educationsl system, in their social life. What is needed desperately is a counter attack that will be effective."

I find it more than interesting that these words are found in a little volume that was last printed in 1955, the year after I was born. 54 years have passed. The dangers noted half a century ago have steeped, fermented, and spread the influence of their intoxicating brew in a way that makes our present early 21st century age even more dangerous.

St. Benedict, the Rule of St. Benedict, and Benedictine spirituality offer us a practical and effective way to make our return to Christ more systematic, more constant in an age where so many sounding chimes, bells, and whistles invite us to move toward them. Personally, after a lot of years spent in denominational and non-denominational settings, many of them in pastoral and other forms of church ministry, I'm no longer looking for new words, new revelations, new ideas, new programs, or new promises of prosperity and the inevitable disappointments and let-downs that have, and will always, come with them. I need form in my spiritual life, form that generates stability and I discover this, and much more, in Benedictine spirituality.

Benedictine spirituality is very simple but it is not simplistic. It offers us a way that is constant, a way that is constantly challenging, a way that will never allow us to settle on our lees and become satisfied to the point of spiritual stagnation. In a world of changing ideals and modern theological adaptations and applications it serves as a tether that holds us secure to the Anchor of our souls.

This blog will focus primarily on the practical and devotional aspects of Benedictine spirituality. These are integrally related to life as we are coming to know it and live it at Homestead Hermitage and Gardens. Spirituality, after all, is who we are. It is part of the parcel. It is the developmental reality of who we are regardless of where we are.

For those interested in simplicity and sustainable micro-farming we have also started a blog at www.homesteadhermitage.blogspot.com .

From Homestead Hermitage and Gardens
David