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.

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