For my latest column at Patheos, I take a rather whimsical look at the legendary/hagiographical story of Saint Benedict and the poisoned cup. The story goes that Benedict had been asked to serve as the abbot of a monastery, but the monks of that community soon decided they wanted to be rid of Benedict, and so summarily tried to poison the man, not once but twice! Benedict was smart enough to bless his food before eating or drinking, and in both cases, the blessing led to his being saved: when he blessed the cup, it shattered; and later when he was served poisoned bread, he blessed that only to have a raven swoop in, grab the bread, and fly off!
So I take that story, mix in a little bit of trivia related to Umberto Eco, and then muse on what all this has to say about the humanity of monastic spirituality. Check out the column for yourself: “I Felt like Poisoning a Monk”