Saturday, August 8, 2009

A Benedictine Reflection (with Anglican Overtones)

One of my favorite "bloggers" is Brother Stephen, a Roman Catholic Cistercian from Wisconsin.

I posted this for on my Facebook loop, but thought I'd reference it here also. Through the Middle Ages England was known as "the Land of the Benedictines." In the 16th Century Henry disbanded the establishments and confiscated and sold the real estate to pay off some of his credit cards, but the Benedictine spirit lived on distinctively, and lives on, in the pattern of life of country parish and village church, and in the deep background of their scattered daughters and sons around the world. Even here in Highland Park, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania . . .

Brother Stephen (by the way, he is a former Episcopalian, with much continuing affection for his Anglican brothers and sisters) writes this morning--

At their best, Benedictines are free of enthusiasms. Long experience teaches that fashions in both heresy and piety come and go. We're not above learning new tricks, but they do not define us. Evangelization, reparation, adoration, bi-location, and even flagellation all have their place and some are needed more in some epochs than in others, but none is the sum total of the gospel. In short, monks don't believe in killer aps for the spiritual life. Instead, we mostly believe that the things that worked in the deserts of Egypt, at the court of Charlemagne, and in the monastic revival of the 19th Century still work. Like Tolkein's ents, Benedictines want nothing that's too hasty.

Click Here to read it all

Bruce Robison

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