Can St Benedict help?

There are lot of Bens around these days, so I am never sure whether that is their full name or an abbreviation. Most appear to be Benjamins in disguise, although some are really Benedicts. It might cause pause for thought if it is recalled that if the child is a Benjamin, his ben is the equivalent of the arabic ‘bin’ ( son of) whereas if he is Benedict, the root is the Latin For ‘ blessing.’ Not that such etymological considerations are likely to figure highly when names are chosen!

These meanderings were triggered by  today being the day we remember St Benedict, and he was duly acclaimed earlier today when we met for morning prayer. Coincidentally I also brought him up at the last PCC meeting as there seems to be much in his reflections on the monastic life which chime with the situation we find ourselves in today. And by that I mean the way our culture operates and the challenges that face us as a church community. It may be folly to imagine that we can simply lift spiritual insights from the C6th and apply them today as if nothing has changed, but it is no less foolish to imagine that the wisdom of the present inevitably trumps that of the past.

Some of Benedict’s key ideas were the need for silence, for regular deep study and thought, a spirit of humility and practical hospitality. A holistic religious vision which saw prayer and work as equally vital ways to give glory to God.

It seems to me that there is much in that way of approaching life which would be helpful to us as individuals, as a christian community, and for the people who live in the parish.

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