Archive for the ‘Benedict of Nursia’ Category

Excerpt from the Rule of St. Benedict

February 11, 2009

I happened to take note of the interesting conclusion to the Rule of St. Benedict – which seems to sort of serve as the constitution (as it were) of the Benedictine order. It is attributed to Benedict of Nursia (circa A.D. 480-547). Like other fathers of the day, it exalts the teachings of the fathers, but gives the highest place to Scriptures.

Of This, that Not the Whole Observance of Righteousness Is Laid Down in this Rule

Now, we have written this Rule that, observing it in monasteries, we may show that we have acquired at least some moral righteousness, or a beginning of the monastic life.

On the other hand, he that hasteneth on to the perfection of the religious life, hath at hand the teachings of the holy Fathers, the observance of which leadeth a man to the height of perfection. For what page or what utterance of the divinely inspired books of the Old and the New Testament is not a most exact rule of human life? Or, what book of the holy Catholic Fathers doth not loudly proclaim how we may go straight to our Creator? So, too, the collations of the Fathers, and their institutes and lives, and the rule of our holy Father, Basil — what are they but the monuments of the virtues of exemplary and obedient monks? But for us slothful, disedifying, and negligent monks they are a source for shame and confusion.

Thou, therefore, who hastenest to the heavenly home, with the help of Christ fulfil this least rule written for a beginning; and then thou shalt with God’s help attain at last to the greater heights of knowledge and virtue which we have mentioned above.

(bold emphasis added) This is from the 1949 Edition of the translation by Boniface Verheyen, OSB.


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