There is no single and widely-agreed definition of spirituality but social scientists have defined spirituality as the search for the sacred. According to Waaijman, the traditional meaning of spirituality is a process of re-formation which aims to recover the original shape of man, the image of God. To accomplish this, the re-formation is oriented at a mold, which represents the original shape: in Judaism the Torah, in Christianity Christ, in Buddhism Buddha, in the Islam Muhammad.
In modern times spirituality has come to mean the internal experience of the individual. It still denotes a process of transformation, but in a context separate from organized religious institutions: “spiritual but not religious.”
Waaijman points out that “spirituality” is only one term of a range of words which denote the praxis of spirituality.
Spirituality can be sought not only through traditional organized religions, but also through movements such as liberalism, feminist theology, and green politics. Spirituality is also now associated with mental health, managing substance abuse, marital functioning, parenting, and coping. It has been suggested that spirituality also leads to finding purpose and meaning in life.
The entire Rule of St. Benedict is centered on Christ and the Christian life.
The monastery at Subiaco established in Italy by Saint Benedict of Nursia circa 529 was the first of a dozen monasteries founded by him. Even so, there is no evidence to suggest that he intended to found an order. To the contrary, the Rule of St Benedict presupposes the autonomy of each community. Despite the absence of a Benedictine order, since most monasteries founded during the Middle Ages adopted the Rule of St Benedict, it became the standard for Western Monasticism.
Today Benedictine monasticism is fundamentally different from other Western religious orders insofar as its individual communities are not part of a religious order with “Generalates” and “Superiors General”. Rather, in modern times, the various autonomous houses have formed themselves loosely into congregations (for example, Cassinese, English, Solesmes, Subiaco, Camaldolese, Sylvestrines) that in turn are represented in the Benedictine Confederation that came into existence through Pope Leo XIII’s Apostolic Brief “Summum semper” on July 12, 1883. This organization facilitates dialogue of Benedictine communities with each other and the relationship between Benedictine communities and other religious orders and the church at large.
The Rule of Saint Benedict is also used by a number of religious orders that began as reforms of the Benedictine tradition such as the Cistercians andTrappists although none of these groups are part of the Benedictine Confederation.
In the English Reformation, all monasteries were dissolved and their lands confiscated by the Crown, forcing their Catholic members to flee into exile on the Continent. During the 19th century they were able to return to England, including to Selby Abbey in Yorkshire, one of the few great monastic churches to survive the Dissolution. Noteworthy, too, is St. Mildred’s Priory, Isle of Thanet, Kent, built in 1027 on the site of an Abbey founded in 670 by the daughter of the first Christian King of Kent. Currently the Priory is home to a community of Benedictine nuns. Four of the most notable English Abbeys are the Basilica of St Gregory the Great at Downside, commonly known asDownside Abbey, Ealing Abbey in Ealing, West London and St. Lawrence’s in Yorkshire (Ampleforth Abbey) and Worth Abbey. In 1928, Prinknash Abbey was officially returned to the Benedictines after four hundred years. Henry VIII had used the site as a hunting lodge. During the next few years, Prinknash Park, so called, was used as a home, until it was returned to the order.
Since the Oxford Movement there has also been a modest flourishing of Benedictine monasticism in the Anglican Church and Protestant Churches. Anglican Benedictine Abbots are invited guests of the Benedictine Abbot Primate in Rome at Abbatial gatherings at Sant’Anselmo. There are an estimated 2,400 celibate Anglican Religious (1080 men and 1320 women) in the Anglican Communion as a whole, some of whom have adopted the Rule of St. Benedict. For a full list of all historic Benedictine houses in England & Wales see below.
Monasticism had been introduced into the region of modern France during the Roman era by Saint Martin of Tours, who founded the first monastery in Western Europe. The Rule of St. Benedict was promoted by various rulers of France, especially the House of Capet. Figures such as Benedict of Aniane were authorized by the Emperor Louis the Pious and his successors to promote its adoption by monasteries throughout the Holy Roman Empire. It expanded throughout the next millennium, growing through periods of revival and decay over the centuries. Monasteries were among the institutions of the Catholic Church swept away during the French Revolution.
Monasteries were again allowed to form in the 19th century under the Bourbon Restoration. Later that century, under the Third French Republic, laws were enacted preventing religious teaching. The original intent was to allow secular schools. Thus in 1880 and 1882, Benedictine teaching monks were effectively exiled; this was not completed until 1901.
BENEDICTINE IN THE PHILIPPINES
In the middle of the 19th century, a hostile and anticlerical government in Spain closed the novitiates. Years later, concessions were granted allowing novitiates which operated missions in foreign countries to open. Hence, the Benedictine Abbey of Montserrat in Cataluña, Spain started to establish missions in the Philippines and in Australia.
The Benedictine monks arrived in the Philippines on September 12, 1895. They started missionary work in Surigao in 1896. R. Rev. Jose Deas y Villar, OSB, founded the Benedictine community in Mindanao. Thus, grew the roots of Benedictine tradition in the Philippines.
HOLY RULE OF SAINT BENEDICT
• Chapter 1 defines four kinds of monks: (1) Cenobites, those “in a monastery, where they serve under a rule and an abbot”; (2) Anchorites, orhermits, who, after long successful training in a monastery, are now coping single-handedly, with only God for their help; (3) Sarabaites, living by twos and threes together or even alone, with no experience, rule and superior, and thus a law unto themselves; and (4) Gyrovagues, wandering from one monastery to another, slaves to their own wills and appetites.
• Chapter 2 describes the necessary qualifications of an abbot, forbids the abbot to make distinctions between persons in the monastery except for particular merit, and warns him he will be answerable for the salvation of the souls in his care.
• Chapter 3 ordains the calling of the brothers to council upon all affairs of importance to the community.
• Chapter 4 lists 73 “tools for good work” “tools of the spiritual craft” for the “workshop” that is “the enclosure of the monastery and the stability in the community”. These are essentially the duties of every Christian and are mainly Scriptural either in letter or in spirit.
• Chapter 5 prescribes prompt, ungrudging, and absolute obedience to the superior in all things lawful, “unhesitating obedience” being called the first degree, or step, of humility.
• Chapter 6 recommends moderation in the use of speech, but does not enjoin strict silence, nor prohibit profitable or necessary conversation.
• Chapter 7 divides humility into twelve degrees, or steps in the ladder that leads to heaven:(1) Fear God; (2) Substitute one’s will to the will of God; (3) Be obedient to one’s superior; (4) Be patient amid hardships; (5) Confess one’s sins; (6) Accept oneself as a “worthless workman”; (7) Consider oneself “inferior to all”; (8) Follow examples set by superiors; (9) Do not speak until spoken to; (10) Do not laugh; (11) Speak simply and modestly; and (12) Be humble in bodily posture.
• Chapters 8-19 regulate the Divine Office, the Godly work to which “nothing is to be preferred”, namely the eight canonical hours. Detailed arrangements are made for the number of Psalms, etc., to be recited in winter and summer, on Sundays, weekdays, Holy Days, and at other times.
• Chapter 19 emphasizes the reverence owed to the omnipresent God.
• Chapter 20 directs that prayer be made with heartfelt compunction rather than many words. It should be prolonged only under the inspiration of divine grace, and in community always kept short and terminated at a sign from the superior.
• Chapter 21 regulates the appointment of a Dean over every ten monks.
• Chapter 22 regulates the dormitory. Each monk is to have a separate bed and is to sleep in his habit, so as to be ready to rise without delay [for early Vigils]; a light shall burn in the dormitory throughout the night.
• Chapters 23-29 specify a graduated scale of punishments for contumacy, disobedience, pride, and other grave faults: first, private admonition; next, public reproof; then separation from the brothers at meals and elsewhere; and finally excommunication (or in the case of those lacking understanding of what this means, corporal punishment instead).
• Chapter 30 directs that a wayward brother who has left the monastery must be received again, if he promises to make amends; but if he leaves again, and again, after the third time all return is finally barred.
• Chapters 31 and 32 order the appointment of officials to take charge of the goods of the monastery.
• Chapter 33 forbids the private possession of anything without the leave of the abbot, who is, however, bound to supply all necessities.
• Chapter 34 prescribes a just distribution of such things.
• Chapter 35 arranges for the service in the kitchen by all monks in turn.
• Chapters 36 and 37 address care of the sick, the old, and the young. They are to have certain dispensations from the strict Rule, chiefly in the matter of food.
• Chapter 38 prescribes reading aloud during meals, which duty is to be performed by those who can do so with edification to the rest. Signs are to be used for whatever may be wanted at meals, so that no voice interrupts the reading. The reader eats with the servers after the rest have finished, but he is allowed a little food beforehand in order to lessen the fatigue of reading.
• Chapters 39 and 40 regulate the quantity and quality of the food. Two meals a day are allowed, with two cooked dishes at each. Each monk is allowed a pound of bread and a hemina(probably about half a pint) of wine. The flesh of four-footed animals is prohibited except for the sick and the weak.
• Chapter 41 prescribes the hours of the meals, which vary with the time of year.
• Chapter 42 enjoins the reading an edifying book in the evening, and orders strict silence after Compline.
• Chapters 43-46 define penalties for minor faults, such as coming late to prayer or meals.
• Chapter 47 requires the abbot to call the brothers to the “work of God” (Opus Dei) in choir, and to appoint chanters and readers.
• Chapter 48 emphasizes the importance of daily manual labour appropriate to the ability of the monk. The hours of labour vary with the season but are never less than five hours a day.
• Chapter 49 recommends some voluntary self-denial for Lent, with the abbot’s sanction.
• Chapters 50 and 51 contain rules for monks working in the fields or travelling. They are directed to join in spirit, as far as possible, with their brothers in the monastery at the regular hours of prayers.
• Chapter 52 commands that the oratory be used for purposes of devotion only.
• Chapter 53 deals with hospitality. Guests are to be met with due courtesy by the abbot or his deputy; during their stay they are to be under the special protection of an appointed monk; they are not to associate with the rest of the community except by special permission.
• Chapter 54 forbids the monks to receive letters or gifts without the abbot’s leave.
• Chapter 55 says clothing is to be adequate and suited to the climate and locality, at the discretion of the abbot. It must be as plain and cheap as is consistent with due economy. Each monk is to have a change of clothes to allow for washing, and when travelling is to have clothes of better quality. Old clothes are to be given to the poor.
• Chapter 56 directs the abbot to eat with the guests.
• Chapter 57 enjoins humility on the craftsmen of the monastery, and if their work is for sale, it shall be rather below than above the current trade price.
• Chapter 58 lays down rules for the admission of new members, which is not to be made too easy. The postulant first spends a short time as a guest; then he is admitted to the novitiate where his vocation is severely tested; during this time he is always free to leave. If after twelve months’ probation he perseveres, he may promise before the whole community stabilitate sua et conversatione morum suorum et oboedientia — “stability, conversion of manners, and obedience”. With this vow he binds himself for life to the monastery of his profession.
• Chapter 59 allows the admission of boys to the monastery under certain conditions.
• Chapter 60 regulates the position of priests who join the community. They are to set an example of humility, and can only exercise their priestly functions by permission of the abbot.
• Chapter 61 provides for the reception of strange monks as guests, and for their admission to the community.
• Chapter 62 deals with the ordination of priests from within the monastic community.
• Chapter 63 lays down that precedence in the community shall be determined by the date of admission, merit of life, or the appointment of the abbot.
• Chapter 64 orders that the abbot be elected by his monks, and that he be chosen for his charity, zeal, and discretion.
• Chapter 65 allows the appointment of a provost, or prior, but warns that he is to be entirely subject to the abbot and may be admonished, deposed, or expelled for misconduct.
• Chapter 66 appoints a porter, and recommends that each monastery be self-contained and avoid intercourse with the outer world.
• Chapter 67 instructs monks how to behave on a journey.
• Chapter 68 orders that all cheerfully try to do whatever is commanded, however hard it may seem.
• Chapter 69 forbids the monks from defending one another.
• Chapter 70 prohibits them from striking one another.
• Chapter 71 encourages the brothers to be obedient not only to the abbot and his officials, but also to one another.
• Chapter 72 briefly exhorts the monks to zeal and fraternal charity
• Chapter 73, an epilogue, declares that the Rule is not offered as an ideal of perfection, but merely as a means towards godliness, intended chiefly for beginners in the spiritual life.
BENEDICTINE CORE VALUES
• Awareness of God – To look for God in the ordinary events of each day.
• Community Living – To become who we are by our relationships with others.
• Taking Counsel – To cultivate rootedness and a shared sense of mission: to stand firm in one’s promises.
• Respect for persons – To respect each person regardless of class, cultural background, or professional skill.
• Listening – To hear keenly and sensitively the voices of persons and all created beings.
• Dignity of work – To appreciate the dignity of work in God’s creation.
• Hospitality – To offer warmth, acceptance, and joy in welcoming others.
• Stewardship – To appreciate and to care lovingly for all the goods of this place.
• Truthful living – To practice enthusiasm for conversation.
• Moderation – To be content with living simply and finding balance in work, prayer, and leisure.
• Common Good – To develop a robust sense of the common good.
• Justice – To work toward a just order in our immediate environment and in the larger society.
All the Benedictine core values reflect to the teaching of God. These values does not only teach us how to be a good follower of Saint Benedict but also how to be a good person. They may be just a little values that were easy to learn but it takes all heart to master it. There are many temptation in this material world but if we put these values, we can overcome it all.
As a Bedan student, I am so greatful to give a chance to learn these values although I admit to myself that it takes time for me learn it from heart but I know that my learning will not stop in San Beda campus but it is just a start for my true learning.