December 22, 2006

Be Our Guest / Fr. Meinrad Brune, O.S.B.

Rule of St. Benedict provides a guide to following Christ

The article “Rule of St. Benedict helps strengthen family life” by Delores Leckey in the Nov. 24 issue of The Criterion was most interesting.

She did well in showing how the Rule of St. Benedict can work for families.

The Rule is a wonderful life guide for living the Christian life and growing deeper in relationship with God.

I liked the practical way she explained applying St. Benedict’s Rule to family life and our personal lives. Thank you for printing this article.

Whenever we speak of the importance of the Rule of St. Benedict in the lives of monks and all Christians, especially in family life, we usually speak of it as providing a “way of life” for those who have chosen to follow Christ.

St. Benedict sets us off on our journey with the Gospel as our guide so we can claim that our “way of life” is one that is based on Gospel values.

The Rule, then, applies the teachings of Christ to the daily life of the Christian, whether in community or family, in such a way that our life is shaped by its teaching.

Growing within the world, and especially in the United States, is the Benedictine Oblate movement. Oblates are Christian women and men, many living in family life, who yearn for a spiritual life deeply rooted in God and may be affiliated with either a men’s or women’s Benedictine monastery. They strive to live the spirit of the Rule of St. Benedict in response to this yearning.

At Saint Meinrad Archabbey in St. Meinrad, more than 1,000 oblates participate in our oblate program. They feel very comfortable in applying the Rule of St. Benedict both to their personal spiritual lives and their family lives. There are common threads among these oblates that include moderation, balance, stability, mutuality, prayer, work, study and service.

The Rule says for oblates, no less than for monks, “that all are to be welcomed as Christ,” but for oblates this is lived out from their own place in the world and within their families, and to the best of their ability as their state in life permits.

Within the Archdiocese of Indianapolis, Saint Meinrad Archabbey has five chapters and one group of Benedictine Oblates:

  • Saint Meinrad—Archabbey Guest House (chapter founded in the 1930s).
  • Tell City—St. Paul Parish Hall (chapter founded in 1940).
  • Indianapolis—Holy Spirit Parish Center (chapter founded in the 1940s).
  • Madison—Prince of Peace Parish Center (chapter founded in the late 1940s).
  • Bloomington—Adult Education Center of St. Charles Borromeo Parish (chapter founded in 1991).
  • Shelbyville—St. Vincent de Paul Parish, Shelby County (group founded in 1995).

The mission of these chapters is to help the oblates to support one another and strengthen their spiritual life through prayer, liturgical celebration, instruction and fellowship in Christ, so “that in all things God may be glorified” (Rule of St. Benedict 57:9).

You may write to Saint Meinrad Archabbey for more information about the Oblate Program.

(Benedictine Father Meinrad Brune is director of the Office of Benedictine Oblates at Saint Meinrad Archabbey.) †

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