Friday, January 01, 2010

Benedict Rules!

Beginning today, and during the coming year, mwbh is embarking on a new project.

San Benedetto da Norcia (480-547), also known as Saint Benedict of Nursia, is best known as the author of "The Rule of Saint Benedict" which is a guide for the conduct and daily lives of monks and their communities. The administration of monasteries, matters of discipline, of self-sustenance, and the daily routine of "ora et labora" -- prayer and work -- all are dealt with in great detail. For this, Benedict is known as the father of western monasticism.

The “Regula Benedicti” has been the guide of community life in the Benedictine tradition for over fifteen centuries. In modern times, it has been divided into segments to be read daily over a four-month period. "Benedict Rules!" is a unique project here at mwbh. While other sites provide this service, our particular endeavor will ultimately serve a unique purpose.

Many of us are familiar with "desktop widgets" or "widget engines" -- those little sidebar apps that we use on our sites, the ones that change every day, or whenever. I have several in my sidebar, such as the news ticker for, the daily Mass readings from, the estimation of the National Debt, among others. These are linked to a source which changes them daily or continuously. I wanted to have one for the daily study of the Rule, but it didn't exist. So I corresponded with the webmaster of He thought it was a great idea, but wasn't able to assume such a project. So I agreed to create one as a means of learning javascript, and would give it to his site for dissemination when it was done. He appeared to be okay with that.

First, the individual text files need to be created, to be accessed by the database, and I thought that while I was at it, I would show them as they were being created, hence the existence of the blog. Benedict Rules! will only show daily segments of the Rule, with no other commentary, and no illustrations. It is recommended that it be read at noon, following the praying of the Angelus (or in Paschaltide, the Regina Caeli), thus will the prayer appear in the sidebar. The blog will be evolving over the next few weeks, to the form which will be maintained for the duration. At the end of four months, no other entries will be published, and the entire text will be maintained indefinitely, or until the new widget for the Rule is created, or until I'm no longer in the mood. Whatever.

There are a number of texts of the Rule available in English, but I have decided to use Saint Benedict's Rule for Monasteries, translated from the Latin in 1948 by the Benedictine Oblate Leonard J Doyle, of Saint John's Abbey in Collegeville, Minnesota, and published the same year by The Liturgical Press, also of Saint John's Abbey. It remains the most popular and widely-used English translation, and is available in a pocket-sized booklet format. I have also maintained the line-sense organization, as it appears in a later hardbound edition, published in 2001, to commemorate the 75th anniversary of The Liturgical Press.

A number of commentaries on the Rule are available online, including that of Abbot Philip Lawrence, OSB, of the Monestary of Christ in the Desert, nestled in the Chama Canyon, north of Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Comments will not be accepted at Benedict Rules!, but they will be accepted here, or can be sent directly to: manwithblackhat at yahoo dot com.

1 comment:

Rick said...

best wishes on your new venture.
FYI, with St. Benedict it was "work and prayer", with St. John Bosco it became "Work is prayer".