I'm a Benedictine oblate, so I never get tired of reading commentaries on the Rule of Saint Benedict in English. Esther de Waal's commentaries are as good as it gets, though Kathleen Norris and Joan Chittister don't have anything to be ashamed of. For people somewhat familiar with Christian spiritualities who are interested in better understanding ways in which the writings and practices of a sixth century monastic remain relevant today, go ahead and dive right in. For those less familiar with Christian traditions, you'll be better served looking to other sources. And for my fellow Benedictine oblates? Get a copy, keep it on your bedside table, open to any chapter at any time, and spend some time with St. Benedict and Esther. You won't regret it.
Here's an example of what you'll get in A Life-Giving Way
. The first word in the Rule
is "Listen," prompting de Waal to say:
"'Listen!' I could take that as a summary of the whole of Benedict's teaching. I could spend the rest of my life pondering on the implications of that one word. It plunges me at once into a personal relationship. It takes me away from the danger of talking about God and not communing with
him. Here is a person seeking another person in a dialogue."
Ah, like music to the ears of Benedictine nerds everywhere. Seriously though, A Life-Giving Way
is a great resource on the Rule
and on living fully the oblate life. I recommend it highly.