Benedictine spirituality is practical and profound. The Rule of St. Benedict has often been referred to as a compendium of the Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Monks are called to seek and abide in the love of God through the celebration of the Eucharistic Liturgy and the singing and reciting of the Office.
Humility is fundamental to monastic life. Humility makes our communities the throne of God.
St. Benedict invites us to build a community in which we are liberated from rivalry, competition, and power struggles.
This implies a profound challenge to the modern cult of self.
The Cistercians, a reformed Benedictine movement of which we belong, developed a profound spirituality based on solid theological anthropology such as knowledge of self in community, love and mystical contemplation.
Indeed the Rule offers each person a direct path to Gospel perfection, through a careful balance between the traditional monastic observance and our contemporary culture. Catholics and Protestants have benefited from the teachings of St. Benedict.
- Preferring nothing to the love of Christ
- Joyfully accepting the blessing of obedience, practicing fraternal charity, progressing in the conversion of life and the practice of humility
- Greater places of silence, peace, brotherhood, and ecumenical sensitivity
- Authentic religious perfection
- Witnesses of the theological virtue of hope
- The search for God
- Obsculta –”listen with the ears of your heart.” We listen, trusting that God is there and that God will speak.
- Burning passion for God, discipline and discipleship
- Spirit of hospitality
- The luminous figure of St Benedict stands in our midst, pointing always to Christ
- Contemplative silence
- Devotion to Mary to whom the Cistercian Order is consecrated
- Faithfulness to our way of life as we live in charity and courage
Benedictine prayer has several characteristics that make more for a spirituality of awareness than of consolation. It is regular, converting, reflective, and communal. Out of these qualities a whole new life emerges and people are changed.
We pray to see life as God sees it is, to understand it, and to make it better.
We pray to dispose ourselves to God. “Here I am Lord.” We pray to open our hearts and minds to be challenged and changed by God and neighbor. From this is born the Benedictine/Cistercian monastic vows of obedience, stability and conversion.
For the true contemplative, all is God, all is prayer.
Ora et Labora. Opus Dei. Silence. Solitude. Simplicity. Material and Spiritual Simplicity, Work, Prayer, and Study – are a must for cultivating a contemplative atmosphere, both within and around. The result should be PAX.
- Reduction of Physical Noise
- Avoidance of the Sins of the Tongue
- Conservation of Energy
- Attentive Listening
- Listening with the Heart
The only way to pray is to pray and the way to pray well is to pray much.
If one has no time for this, then one must at least pray regularly.
But the less one prays, the worse it gets.
When one has imbued oneself in prayer, silence and solitude, it becomes almost impossible to believe that life’s journey ends at the grave. Following Christ under a Rule and an Abbot, community life becomes a school of the Lord’s service and a training ground for brotherly love.
Being an intern, extern monk or oblate, community life offers a challenge. Life circumstances and the people therein can be difficult at times. It is there that we meet the Crucified Christ.
And so we do this walk together with confidence that God is intimately close.
“When I joined the Cistercian Order of the Holy Cross, the first thing that changed was my prayer life. Before, it was a life-less obligation, a burden my wife and I committed ourselves to pray at least the Morning and Evening Prayers and whenever time allows, to pray the other offices as well. This helped us to become more prayerful, teaching us to offer everything to God each day; referring to Him even the mundane things of our daily life. I started seeing myself opening more and more to my wife in terms of communication, becoming more forgiving and affirming. My relationship with the Lord started improving tremendously. Whereas before, obeying God is a duty, now it is a joy.”