How to live What the Rule of St. Benedict teaches us about happiness, meaning, and community

Judith Valente

Book - 2018

The Rule of St. Benedict arose from an era when a great civilization was threatened by violence, economic forces that favored the wealthy, political leaders that lacked the trust of the public, and rampant xenophobia. Similar to the anxieties and frustrations of the 6th century, we are living in a time where societies need to stress community over competition, consensus over conflict, simplicity over self gain, and silence over the constant chatter and distractions of our lives. In How to Live, ...Judith Valente explores the key elements of the rule and clearly demonstrates how incorporating this ancient wisdom can change the quality and texture of our lives offering a way forward from the divisions gripping our country. These fresh and profound explorations are inspiring and thoughtful, and will motivate readers to live a meaningful life.

Saved in:

2nd Floor Show me where

255.106/Valente
1 / 1 copies available
Location Call Number   Status
2nd Floor 255.106/Valente Checked In
Subjects
Published
Charlottesville : Hampton Roads Pub 2018.
Language
English
Physical Description
xii, 211 pages ; 23 cm
ISBN
9781571747983
1571747982
Main Author
Judith Valente (author)
Other Authors
Joan Chittister (writer of foreword), Martin E. Marty, 1928- (writer of afterword)
  • Yearning for life: on beginning
  • Listen with the ear of the heart: on paying attention
  • Run with the light: on waking up
  • Is there life before death?: on living fully
  • The tools for good works: on peaceful living
  • Restraint of speech: on silence
  • "Have patience with me": on humility
  • The times for saying alleluia: on prayer
  • Sleeping with knives: on trust
  • Linking arms: on community
  • Workaholism and other over-achievements: on finding balance
  • To make amends: on forgiving
  • The guests at our door: on hospitality
  • Do I need this now?: on living simply
  • Seeking the true self: on facing our faults
  • Summoning the community for counsel: on building consensus
  • The care of souls: to be a leader
  • Nothing is to be neglected: on caring for what we have
  • "Your blessing, please": on living with awe
  • A school for the Lord's service: on finding meaning in our work
  • "I've never been where I am not": on contemplation
  • Always beginning: on conversatio morum.
Review by Booklist Reviews

The Rule of St Benedict, an ancient text for cloistered monks, has been inspiring readers for centuries. But what does a text aimed at monks have to say to readers living in the world? Valente's contemplative and personal book deftly weaves principles from the teaching of Benedict throughout her chapters and demonstrates how the ancient wisdom can help us to live better. Each chapter extracts one of the values Benedict extols and demonstrates how it is applicable to our busy modern lives by, for instance, furnishing ways to balance work and rest. Included at the end of each chapter are brief questions or activities for reflection. The author readily admits she sometimes feels the temptation to retreat to a monastery, but thankfully for readers, she does not do so; instead, she demonstrates how the rule can bring some peace to frantic, overscheduled lives. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Suddenly, St. Benedict of Nursia, who lived 1600 years ago, is popular again. First was Rod Dreher's The Benedict Option, which encourages a reinvigorated faith based on classic Christian values as illuminated in the Rule of Saint Benedict. This similar work by journalist and media personality Valente is liberally peppered with Benedict's Rule, which she asserts provides "a veritable guarantee of the good life" in its focus on a balanced personal humility and individual spiritual growth. This is not a cry for retreat from the world; rather, Valente's own harried personal life serves as a microcosm through which to understand the value of everything in moderation, while focusing on simplicity and silence. The author finds that "silence sets down a place for wisdom to find a home" and with insight suggests that "sooner or later, we all need to let our souls catch up with the rest of our lives." VERDICT Comforting words for anyone in need of a period of reflection, for both individuals and book groups.—Sandra Collins, Byzantine Catholic Seminary Lib., Pittsburgh Copyright 2018 Library Journal.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

In this accessible guide to the good life, journalist and poet Valente (Atchison Blue) illustrates how St. Benedict's sixth-century monastic manual for healthy communal living can address contemporary conundrums, such as the echo chamber of social media, information overload, and the challenges of "Workaholism and Over-Achieverism." In 21 short chapters, Valente highlights key selections from the Rule of St. Benedict, analyzing how ancient directives on topics such as paying attention, living fully, silence, humility, prayer, forgiveness, trust, and leadership can strengthen relationships and communities. Valente picks out the Mount St. Scholastica Benedictine Monastery in Atchison, Kans., for their guidance on cultivating harmony: "Before you open your mouth to speak... ask yourself three questions: Is what I am about to say true? Is it kind? Is it necessary?" Valente argues that contemporary workplaces could benefit from Benedict's management model, which mandates hours for leisure and gives workers opportunities to request help or work reassignment, allowing them to "serve without distress." While acknowledging that many businesses lack the time required for monastics' consensus-building, she posits that the rule's emphasis on transparency and openness to multiple viewpoints promotes sound decision-making. These astute reflections on the rule's tools for nurturing community provide valuable guidance for those seeking balance in a conflict-ridden world. (Apr.) Copyright 2018 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

“How to Live helps us see what we are losing; to make us taste what we’re in danger of dismissing as unimportant. It reminds us of what we’ve missed but is still at hand, waiting to enliven the age in which we live as well as to be remembered for its contributions to the past.”—Joan ChittisterThe Rule of St. Benedict arose from an era when a great civilization was threatened by violence, economic forces that favored the wealthy, political leaders that lacked the trust of the public, and rampant xenophobia. Similar to the anxieties and frustrations of the 6th century, we are living in a time where societies need to stress community over competition, consensus over conflict, simplicity over self gain, and silence over the constant chatter and distractions of our lives.In How to Live, Judith Valente explores the key elements of the rule and clearly demonstrates how incorporating this ancient wisdom can change the quality and texture of our lives offering a way forward from the divisions gripping our country. These fresh and profound explorations are inspiring and thoughtful, and will motivate readers to live a meaningful life.