(i) Benedict's Rule

Benedict of Nursia (480-547, Italy) was "driven" into the "desert" to live to pray, by the chaos and decay of the "dark night of history" which immediately followed the disintegration of the Roman Empire.  He is now credited with bringing necessary and biblical order to the Church's contemplative (prayer) movement, as it then was.  Below are some choice excerpts from the 73 precepts which he wrote by way of his "Rule"...a guidebook, if you will, for prayer houses.  Notice the seamless connection between spiritual and practical concerns; Heaven indeed touching earth!  Benedict's "Rule" is still inspirational and is consulted by hundreds of prayer houses all over the world today.  It is foundational (Eph 2) for them and therefore, by definition, "apostolic"!


"What page or phrase of divine authority of the Old and New Testament is not the straightest norm for a human life?"


"Let us realise that we shall be heard not in much speaking, but in purity of heart, in compunction (repentance) and tears.  And that is why a prayer should be brief and pure, unless perhaps it be prolonged by an inspiration of divine grace."
"He (who) wishes to pray more secretly by himself, let him in all simplicity go in and pray, not with a loud voice but with tears and an attentive heart."
"Let the oratory (place of prayer) be what it is called, and let nothing else be done or stored there.  When the work of God (prayer) is finished, let all go out with the deepest silence, and let reverence be shown to God."


"Guard against evil desires, because death has his station near the entrance of pleasure."
"As there is a harsh and evil zeal which separates from God and leads to hell, so there is a virtuous zeal which separates from vice and leads to God and life everlasting."


"Let the Abbot (leader) know that whatever lack of profit the Master of the house shall find in the sheep, will be laid to the blame of the shepherd."
"In his corrections, let him (Abbot) act with prudence and not go to extremes, lest, while he aims to remove the rust too thoroughly, the vessel be broken.  Let him always keep his own frailty in mind."
"Let him (Abbot) not be fussy or over-anxious, exacting, or headstrong; let him not be jealous or suspicious, because he will never have rest."

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