What is the St. Benedict Rule?
Our parish patron, St. Benedict, is known to be among the earliest in the Church to formally move from a life “in the world” to establish a formal way of religious living within community separated from worldly influences. The communal way of life and the expression of living the Catholic faith separate from the world that he developed is that which has led to St. Benedict being designated as the “founder of western monasticism,” which implies in some sense that his founding of the Benedictines is the source from which all other monastic communities that have developed in the life of the Church can trace their inspiration. That it is called “western monasticism” is in reference to the Latin rite or Roman Church (in contrast with the east, where the Orthodox Church or those Churches of the East that are in union with Rome have a different tradition in their history of monastic life).
In establishing the community, Benedict crafted a “rule of life” for all who sensed the call to this life outside the world, so that they could be rightly formed in the practice of living out this way of life – hence the title “Benedictine Rule” or “Rule of St. Benedict.” It is of first note that this rule of life is particularly intended for non-clerics and therefore many of the “monks” that live in the community are not ordained as deacons and/or priests – but continue to live
the lay state of life, having taken vows to remain faithful to this rule of life until death. Among its contents are directives for how the community is structured and governed, details about priorities and ways of living lives of prayer, work, and study as they are understood as best suited for their way of life within the community, and even daily disciplines to be followed in relating to one another within the community.
Acknowledging my own ignorance of the particular contents of the rule, I would conclude by relating that the Rule of St. Benedict is widely available – and therefore can be found and even purchased in book form through sources online for any who wish to learn more.
Did the Holy Family, Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, have a last name?
In the time of the New Testament (and even in the Old Testament), we do not hear of people being identified by having a full first, middle, and last name, as is common in our times. Instead, in addition to having a first name, people would be known by either the names of their parents or the place where they lived (or sometimes both). We see this type of naming often in the Bible when people are identified by first name, followed by reference to who their father was, such as with Simon, son of John (whom we know better as “Peter”), or when we hear of Joseph of Arimathea – who came from the town of Arimathea. Sometimes in the Gospels, we hear Jesus called “Jesus of Nazareth.” Thus, we are not aware of a last name for members of the Holy Family in the way that we think of having last names. Rather, like others of the time and place, they are simply known by their first name in relation to the place where they live or to the names of parents.