The version of the Rule of St Benedict used on this site, originally published by the Stanbrook Abbey Press in 1937, is used by kind permission of the Ampleforth Abbey Trust.

Between May and September 2018 the reflections on the Rule are by Christine Pritchard. Mother, grandmother, and retired French teacher, Chris has been an oblate of Stanbrook for ten years. In the reflections she considers how the Rule might be translated into a family setting.
Comments are welcome via
secretary@stanbrookabbey.org.uk




The introduction to the Reflections is below please scroll down to find the reflection for the current Chapter of the Rule.

Welcome to Reflections on the Rule of St Benedict (please scroll down for daily reflections) 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 of Ampleforth published by the Stanbrook Abbey Press in 1937. 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 secretary@stanbrookabbey.org.uk


Further Reading:
If you have enjoyed looking at words and patterns in the Rule you will probably benefit from Sr Aquinata Bockmann's approach, eg in her Perspectives on the Rule of St Benedict (2005), pub. Collegeville.
Dom Hugh Gilbert's three books: Unfolding the Mystery (2007),
Living the Mystery (2008) and
The Tale of Quisquis (2014)each pub. Gracewing.
Gregory Collins: Meeting Christ in his Mysteries (2010) pub. Columba.
Maria Boulding: Gateway to Resurrection (2010) pub.

Continuum, is shot through with the Paschal dimension of Benedictine life. Sr Mary Margaret Funk OSB's 'Matters' books pub. Liturgical Press. Anything by Michael Casey OCSO!


2 May: Chapter 1 Prologue 1                


This is a Rule – a pattern to follow in life.  We need to read the instruction leaflet, understand what it says, work out how to apply it, put it into practice.  It is the same when buying any item from Ikea: at first it looks too complicated. But any task will be easier if we discuss it with an expert and put their advice into practice.


 


3 May: Prologue 2                        


When we are 20, old age seems encouragingly far away, it will never actually come.  When we are older, old age can be seen as at least a decade further away, so no need to bother yet. However, a glance at the Obituary page in the newspaper will tell us the truth – we do not know how long we have to come closer to God.  Today has been given to me – will I use it well?


 


4 May: Prologue 3                        


Prayer is just a conversation with God. Who would NOT ‘desire good days’? And the way to find them is deceptively easy – watch your tongue, do good, be peaceful. It looks easy.  Is it?  I note that for Benedict it is what comes out of our mouths which undoes us.


 


5 May: Prologue 4                        


With faith and good works. Our family unit should be an example of faith alive.  But this example is seen more in our words than our actions – our love and concern for each other, and then the outflowing of that love to others. Daily life consists of ACTIONS – acts of love, great and small. With God’s blessing they can become holy.


 


6 May: Prologue 5            


If we benefit from a house firmly fixed on rock, so will our family. Children need a secure home from which to thrive.  The security of a sure family base is both a refuge and a springboard.


 


7 May: Prologue 6            


ALL we have to do, is to live our lives in accordance with God’s commands.  Easy? No, we shall need grace.  With our eyes on eternity, we shall need all the help we can get.


 


8 May: Prologue 7            


In a school we need rules and discipline and routine to function efficiently. The monastery and the home are the school, but they are schools we can love to be part of, our ‘alma mater’, but the discipline is still necessary for the formation of rounded persons capable of weathering all that life can throw at us.

CP