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Prayer Among The Benedictines

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Chapter Summary

Monastic Christians inherited the universal Christian obligation to pray at key moments of day and night, as well as practices that had become associated with those ?hours? of prayer. To understand ?prayer among the Benedictines? means exploring Benedict?s legislation in both its traditional and distinctive aspects. By the time Saint Benedict wrote his Rule for Monks, in the mid-sixth century, monasticism was well established throughout the Christian world, having passed through several generations of development. Benedict offers no particular liturgical theology in the Rule, although he does write about the attitude appropriate to psalmody. Benedict?s references to tears and compunction link his teaching on prayer to Cassian?s phenomenology of spiritual experience. His few allusions to the western inheritance of eastern Christian mystical traditions foreshadow developments in the medieval Latin world and exemplify the privileged place of Benedictine monasticism as a natural bridge between the traditions of Christian east and west.

Keywords: Benedictine; Cassian?s phenomenology; Christian mystical tradition; monastic prayer; Rule for Monks



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