Humanities 230: Baptism of Europe |
St. Benedict’s Influence on the Monastic Tradition |
Melanie Perez |
Saint Benedict (c. 480 - died c. 547) was a founder of Christian monastic communities and an exceptional ruler for all the monks He was a very accomplished man and throughout his life span he came to the aid of many people because he was a guide to them in their search for God. Through hard work, and devotion, this modest man helped shape history. St. Benedict developed the best of the monastic tradition, prescribing a standard of spiritual wisdom that has endured ever since his time.
In the sixth century, Saint Benedict drafted his famous Rule; this is when the monasticism began to grow rapidly in Western Europe. Saint Benedict called his document: a simple rule for beginners because it was notable for its brevity, flexibility, and moderation. Saint Benedict wrote his Rule for all who wanted to become monks. This Rule was a defined cycle of prayers, communal worship and lessons. The fundamental rule was that each day was divided into a sequence of activities with an emphasis on prayer and manual labor. Benedict declared that physical labor was encouraged because idleness was an enemy of the soul. Monks were encouraged to practice a powerful relationship with God. Ways for Monks to
practice discipline were to include fasting, silence, to accept bodily discomfort, and not to own anything. One of the most important rules for the monks was to be obedient to their spiritual leader.
Saint Benedict thought that monks should only serve Christ, not study philosophy or literature. He thought that monks should be able to read well enough to understand and study the bible. The abbot was to preside over the monastery and he was known as Christ’s representative. The abbot should always be aware of his teaching and obedience of his disciples. Blame could fall back on him if his disciples did not know...