Benedict was born in 404 in Italy and he went to school in Rome. Worn down by the “loose living” in Rome, Benedict retreated to a lakeside cave. Alone, Benedict was serious about his spiritual life. Nearby monks asked Benedict to lead them. He warned them that they would find him too strict. They insisted and then tried to poison him when his warning proved true.
Benedict mellowed in his understanding and approach to the spiritual life. Many people were attracted to his teachings and way of life and eventually he established 12 monasteries.
Benedict created his Rule, which helped each monastery live well. The following aspects of the Rule might also help us live well.
- Community – Benedict began his adult life as a hermit and then realized the value of community. We are each made for relationship.
- Work has value – Benedict saw work as prayer. Work of all kinds has value to the individual as well as to the greater good.
- Moderation – Buy things you need. Eat well. Get enough sleep (7.5 to 8 hours).
- Scripture and contemplation – Benedict emphasized that Scriptural reading, prayer and contemplation should inform our actions and attitudes. Others should see our faith in action.
Benedict became St. Benedict in 1220 and he is the Patron Saint of Protection.