Rule of Benedict Beginning Again

Always We Begin Again

“The first rule is simply this;

live this life

and do whatever is done,

in a spirit of Thanksgiving.

Abandon attempts to achieve security,

they are futile,

give up the search for wealth,

it is demeaning,

quit the search for salvation,

it is selfish,

and come to comfortable rest

in the certainty that those who

participate in this life

with an attitude of Thanksgiving

will receive its full promise.”

Always We Begin Again, John McQuiston

I buy this book in bulk to give to those coming for spiritual direction. My own copy is falling apart. It is pocket sized, so I can carry it around with me throughout the day and leave by my bed at night. McQuiston is a Memphis lawyer who has shaped and paraphrased the Rule of Benedict into modern language. Its simplicity is its beauty. McQuiston’s story of how he was introduced into the Rule of Benedict is a reminder of how we are constantly cared for by God. At his father’s funeral, a priest friend of the family gave him Ester de Waal’s book, Living with Contradictions: Reflections on the Rule of St. Benedict.  This led him to Canterbury Cathedral and a Benedictine experience and a major change in how he lived.

McQuiston distills a rule of life written for monks living in community in the sixth century to an essential substance to help us in today’s world who do not live in a monastery find a balanced routine in an already too busy schedule. I need to carry the book with me because I constantly forget and get pulled off center and disconnected. I try to read the chapter on humility every day, for “I have such great ideas”. My rule of life changes more often than I would like, but McQuiston keeps reminding me how necessary it is to honor one, to stay connected to God and my community, to stay thankful. A revelation for me in reading McQuiston book has been how close the Rule is incorporated in the 12 steps. When two disciplines speak a truth, I try to take notice and realize this indeed may be a truth. The book also includes some meditative material and a sample rule of life. Sample it.