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A Benedictine monk reads in the cloister of the monasteryMy first encounter with St Benedict was through the life of a Benedictine oblate who lived in a little cabin in the woods near Bob Jones University.

June Reynolds was a quiet, prayerful, joyful and bookish person. When I went to study at Oxford she loaned me some money and she also shared the Benedictine life with me as she encouraged me to visit a Benedictine monastery.

In this blog I plan to recount some of my experiences visiting Benedictine monasteries and learning more about the Benedictine Way, but for now I should say that one of the things I love about the Benedictine Way is that it is so locked into everyday life.

Not for Benedict the intensity of mystical paths of perfection, arcane meditation techniques and ascetical programs of penance and prayer. Instead he expects his followers to find God within the ordinary round of work, prayer and study.

The three eventually combine so that prayer becomes work and study and study becomes work and prayer and work becomes prayer and study. Thus the mind, the heart and the body begin more and more to be in balance and the person is made whole.

There is an awful lot of excellent literature about the Benedictine Way of spirituality, My own contributions are St Benedict and St Therese–the Little Rule and the Little Way which compares the lives and teachings of these two great saints, and Listen My Son–St Benedict for Fathers — a book of daily readings that applies the Rule of St Benedict to modern parenting.

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