Tuesday, August 24, 2010


I invite you to come along ancient paths of spiritual formation. The Rule of St. Benedict, a guidebook for spiritual life written in the early 6th century, offers practical guidance for spiritual living in the twenty-first century. Benedictine spirituality provides principles and well-tested practices especially within the setting of a faith community. Benedict’s Rule concludes just as he began, with his favorite image, that of walking together along the path of spiritual life:

Are you hastening toward your heavenly home? Then with Christ’s help, keep this little rule that we have written for beginners. After that, you can set out for the loftier summits of the teaching and virtues we mentioned above, and under God’s protection you will reach them. Amen (RB, 73.8–9).

In these closing words, we see a clear vision for spiritual growth: spiritual pilgrims traveling together as a community toward our home with God among “loftier summits”. We walk with Christ’s help; strengthened step by step through the grace of God. Along the way, we need basic instructions to help us follow the path of Christian formation. As we walk together by faith, we seek to follow in the way of wisdom along ancient paths. As Tolkien wrote of life’s journey,

The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say.*

*J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring (New York, NY: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1954), 44.

NOTE: This blog post offers a sample of writing from the newly released book ANCIENT PATHS: DISCOVER CHRISTIAN FORMATION THE BENEDICTINE WAY. For more information on this book, see the following links:

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