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Saint Benedict: Father of Western Monasticism Essay

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When Jesus walked the earth his twelve disciples put aside all of their worldly possessions and worldly pursuits to fully and faithfully follow him. After the fall of Rome, Europe slipped into what has been referred to as the “dark ages.” However, even in these dark ages men and women put aside their secular desires and devoted themselves to a life of celibacy and simplicity. This similar desire between many people drew them together and this pursuit became know as monasticism. No one had a bigger influence on this way of life and on these people who chose this calling than Saint Benedict of Nursia. His teachings and life would have an impact on monasticism all throughout Europe helping to form its spirituality and culture.
We live in a fallen world filled with evil desires, temptations, and idols. Many believed that if one desires to be as holy and as close to God as possible then they must distance themselves from sin. This involves putting aside worldly desires and possessions since anything of this fallen world is sinful. This calling brought many people to live simplistic lives alone. However, around fourth century a man named Pachomius founded a place where people with this similar interest could live together, known as a monastery (Benedictine Abbey of Christ in the Desert). This way of living became very appealing not only for spiritual pursuits but also for the pursuit of knowledge. Outside of monasteries the literacy rate was extremely low. For the most part only monks knew how to read and write. For these reasons monasteries began to be established all over Europe. However, with so many of them styles and rules became very different. There were many different kinds of rule that separated monasteries fro...


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Order/A Brief History." Benedictine Abbey of Christ in the Desert: Saint Benedict/St. Benedict and His Order/A Brief History. Monastery of Christ in the Desert, n.d. Web. 08 Dec. 2013.
"Benedictine Rule." Benedictine Rule. N.p., n.d. Web. 08 Dec. 2013.
Casey, Michael. A Guide to Living in the Truth: Saint Benedict's Teaching on Humility.
Liguori, MO: Liguori/Triumph, 2001. Print.
Gregory, and Terrence Kardong. The Life of Saint Benedict. Collegeville, MN:
Liturgical, 2009. Print.
Leclercq, Jean. The Love of Learning and the Desire for God; a Study of Monastic
Culture. New York: Fordham UP, 1974. Print.
Montalembert, Charles Forbes. The Monks of the West: From St. Benedict to St.
Bernard. Vol. 2. Boston: Thomas B. Noonan, 1860. Print.
Ware, Corinne. Saint Benedict on the Freeway: A Rule of Life for the 21st Century.
Nashville, TN: Abingdon, 2001. Print.



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