Benedict the Balanced

Here is my latest article for Imaginative Conservative website on St Benedict and the Benedictine balance–”nothing harsh, nothing burdensome” says Benedict about the spiritual life.

 In the summer of 1987 I had three months free, and decided to make a hitch-hiking pilgrimage to Jerusalem. I had visited Benedictine monasteries in England and decided to stay in monasteries and convents all along the route. It was a glorious summer and I had an excellent adventure.

One of the best parts of the trip was visiting Benedictine houses all across France and Italy. I stayed at famous places like Mont St. Michel, Solemses and Fleury where the relics of St. Benedict are preserved. I visited Subiaco and Monte Cassino where St Benedict lived and worked. I also stopped at more out of the way monasteries. They were high in the Alps, on an island at Venice, in the centre of Rome and by the Sea of Galilee.

At each monastery I was given a warm welcome in the true Benedictine tradition of hospitality. As I stayed with the monks I got firsthand experience of their simple, balanced, and dignified lifestyle. Many people regard monks as extremists, but I learned to see things in a different way. Here was a group of men who decided to live together to pursue a life of prayer, study, and work. They weren’t the ones who were insane. Instead their quiet sanity made the usual race for money and power seem crazed and crazy.

Read the whole article here.