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Strangers to the City: Reflections on the Beliefs and Values of the Rule of St. Benedict - eBook
Paraclete Press / 2005 / ePub
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Michael Casey, a monk and scholar who has been publishing his wise teachings on the Rule of St. Benedict for decades, turns to the particular Benedictine values that he considers most urgent for Christians to incorporate into their lives today.
Eloquent and incisive, Casey invites readers to accept that gospel living---seen in the light of the Rule---involves accepting the challenge of being different from the secular culture around us. He encourages readers to set clear goals and objectives, to be honest about the practical ways in which priorities may have to change to meet these goals, and to have the courage to implement these changes both daily and for the future.
Casey presents thoughtful reflections on the beliefs and values of asceticism, silence, leisure, reading, chastity, and poverty---putting these traditional Benedictine values into the context of modern life and the spiritual aspirations of people today. Strangers to the City is a book for all who are interested in learning more about the dynamics of spiritual growth from the monastic experience.
Michael Casey is a Cistercian monk of Tarrawarra Abbey in Australia. He is a well-known retreat master and lecturer on monastic spirituality. Casey is the author of many books, including Toward God: The Ancient Wisdom of Western Prayer; A Guide to Living in the Truth: Saint Benedict's Teaching on Humility; and Fully Human, Fully Divine: An Interactive Christology.
In a disappointing volume, Cistercian monk Casey, author of A Guide to Living in the Truth, describes 13 attributes of the Rule of St. Benedict. This is not feel-good spirituality; Casey courageously calls his readers to hard disciplines like asceticism and self-denial, and much of his vision for the good life is countercultural. He disdains TV, questions the material luxuries that bourgeois Westerners take for granted and gently mocks those who "would prefer to lose a limb than to have any restriction placed on their automobile use." At times, his descriptions of Benedictine virtues-an abandonment of "self-will," for example-sound almost Buddhist. That quality might attract a large, ecumenical readership, were the book not marred by a certain abstractness. It would be more helpful if Casey had clarified how ordinary laypersons could apply Benedictine wisdom to their lives. What might the "community life... shaped by mutual obedience," which Casey finds in monasticism, look like for families or single laypeople? There is also an unfortunate, almost academic, passivity in the prose that distances the reader from the text: "Just as mutuality is not to be equated with equality, so generativity exists in more than one mode." Esther De Waal's Seeking God and Living with Contradiction remain better introductions to Benedictine spirituality. (Sept.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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