May 17th

Quite radical: the idea that the Lord often reveals what is better to younger people. Pope Francis seems to have embraced this in his latest teaching – calling young people to join with him in evangelisation. The master is not to tyrannize but to plan wisely; once he has done this, the final word in the community is his.

May 18th

‘No one is to follow his own heart’s desire.’ But isn’t that the problem of our time? Everyone must have just what they want. Priests struggle to explain to couples getting married that Holy Saturday is not possible; to people asking for baptism for their children in the Roman Catholic Church that at least one parent must be Catholic; to the bereaved that readings during a funeral must be from Scripture. You can, no doubt, think of many other examples, but when we have to say ‘no’ to anyone’s demands let us do so calmly, kindly and patiently!

May 19th

The chapter entitled The Tools for Good Works is a remarkable one: whether we live in a monastery or not,  Scripture provides us with a rule of living. ‘Your way of acting should be different from the world’s way,’ comments St Benedict. A monk or nun is obviously different, how do the rest of us live counter-culturally and yet lovingly? Something we need to consider constantly and keep practising.

May 20th

Wise words for anyone living in community whether a parish, a family or a monastery. ‘Never turn away when someone needs your love’ sums up much of it. We are only aware of someone’s need for our love if we keep our eyes and ears open. God calls us to look beyond ourselves and our own needs – a fundamental principle for any Christian community.






Click here for pdf of whole Rule: RB37

This month's reflections are by Fr Christopher Jackson, priest of the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle, and oblate of Stanbrook.

Further Reading:
If you have enjoyed looking at words and patterns in the Rule you will probably benefit from Sr Aquinata Boeckmann's approach, eg in her Perspectives on the Rule of St Benedict (2005), pub. Collegeville.
Dom Hugh Gilbert's books: Unfolding the Mystery (2007) and Living the Mystery (2008) and The Tale of Quisquis, published since he has become a bishop.
Gregory Collins OSB: Meeting Christ in his Mysteries (2010) pub. Columba.
Maria Boulding OSB: Gateway to Resurrection (2010) pub. Continuum, is shot through with the Paschal dimension of Benedictine life.
Anything by Michael Casey OCSO!

Reflections on the Rule of St Benedict: Introduction

We wanted the Rule of St Benedict (RB) to pulse through the website as it does through our life, hence the decision that the daily portion of the Rule, read in most Benedictine monasteries and by many individuals, should feature on the Home Page. The version selected is that of Dom Justin McCann OSB published by the Stanbrook Abbey Press in 1937 and used here by kind permission of the Ampleforth Abbey Trust. There are several reasons for this choice: first of all, we feel it still reads as an elegant translation, then we wish to celebrate cooperation between the Ampleforth and Stanbrook communities over many years, and thirdly, perhaps the old-fashioned thees and thous can actually help us approach the Rule of St Benedict thoughtfully. For all its relevance, RB remains an ancient text which needs careful unpacking.

To accompany the extracts of the Rule we hope to post reflections, initially from members of the Stanbrook Community. These do not aim to be scholarly commentaries of which there are many excellent editions available. Rather, the reflections allow us to re-visit the Rule, to try to listen to its familiar voice anew, and to share thoughts via this forum.

Your comments are welcome via