Thinking allowed

Benedict, Father of Western Monasticism


Benedict’s interest to liturgy is indirect. As the author of the monastic Rule that bears his name, he did much to encourage the spread of monasticism in the western Church, and consequently was a major influence on daily liturgical prayer down to the present day.

He was born in Nursia in central Italy around the year 480. As a young man he was sent to study in Rome, but was soon appalled by the corruption in society and withdrew to live as a hermit at Subiaco. He quickly attracted disciples and began to establish small monasteries in the neighbourhood. Around the year 525 he moved to Monte Cassino with a band of loyal monks. Later in life Benedict wrote his Rule for Monks, based on his own experience of fallible people striving to live out the gospel. He never intended to found an ‘order’ but his Rule was so good that it was disseminated and widely followed, becoming the model for all western monasticism. Benedict died at Monte Cassino in about the year 550, probably on 21 March, but he is generally commmeorated on 11 July in Anglican and other Calendars.

Eternal God,
who made Benedict a wise master
in the school of your service
and a guide to many called into community
to follow the rule of Christ:
grant that we may put your love before all else
and seek with joy the way of your commandments;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord.
Amen.

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