Running with Expanding Heart: Meeting God in Everyday Life
By Mary Reuter, OSB
Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2010
Review by Carl McColman
Running with Expanding Heart (the title comes from a phrase in the prologue to the Rule of Saint Benedict) offers a vision of how Benedictine spirituality can provide inspiration and guidance for twenty-first century Christians—including the laity. Sister Mary Reuter, a member of Saint Benedict’s Monastery in St. Joseph, Minnesota and a theology professor at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University, understands just how down-to-earth and practical Benedictine wisdom is, and uses storytelling, personal reflection, and thought-provoking, open-ended questions to illustrate just how relevant Benedict’s Rule continues to be. Beginning with an homage to her father whom she describes as an “extraordinary ordinary man,” the author goes on to show, in a variety of ways, how Benedictine wisdom can help Christians to find the extraordinary in all of life’s ordinary moments.
The chapters of the book cover the key elements of Benedictine wisdom, including hospitality, stability, obedience, the beauty of the ordinary, the spirituality of place, and the recognition that everything is holy. Although the book does not promote any sort of method or technique of prayer, the overall message will support all who seek to nurture a contemplative dimension within even the most down-to-earth corners of their lives.
This book can serve as an introduction to Benedictine spirituality for beginners, but also as a bouquet of new insights for those who have walked with Benedict for some time. It’s a slender little book (100 pages plus notes), making it ideal to read as part of an overall discipline of daily devotion. St. Benedict expected his monks to read a book for Lent; if you want to make Benedictine wisdom more integrally part of your life, this would be an ideal selection for your Lenten reading.