A Good Life: Benedicts Guide to Everyday Joy By Robert Benson

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    There is no shortage of good days, writes Annie Dillard. It is good lives that are hard to come by. Reflecting on what makes a good life, Robert Benson offers a warmhearted, humorous guide to enriching our lives with the wisdom of Benedict, a 6th century monk. Each chapter is shaped around a Benedictine principle: prayer, rest, community, and work, and reveals the brilliant and infinitely practical ways that Benedictine spirituality can shape our lives today. Benson is honest and wise, sharing his own failings and the constant tension that he feels between the demands of the temporal and the spiritual. For anyone who feels caught in a web of conflicting priorities, or who finds the pace of modern life more draining than fulfilling, A Good Life will come as a welcome treat for the soul. A Good Life: Benedicts Guide to Everyday Joy

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    A wonderful read! Highly recommended. Robert Benson this is a collection of reflections-each of which started with a passage from Benedict's writing. They were thought-provoking. I just wanted more...more depth, longer. Robert Benson Great book! Simple, inspiring. Robert Benson Beautiful little book used on my spiritual retreat. It's not a how to become a monk guide; but, rather, a guide to finding one's own rhythm reflected in the rule of Saint Benedict. Robert Benson

    Robert Benson's measured prose is well-suited to his topic of following St. Benedict's advocacy for an ordered life. Using personal experience and just enough challenge to the reader, Benson draws us in to believe that a good life is possible and worth pursuing. Along the way, he explains how this can take place.

    A takeaway for me comes out of Benson's chapter on Work, where he speaks of Benedict's recognition of three roles in community: abbot, artist and cellarer. Abbots lead, out of humility and from experience. Artists contribute the skills of hand and mind to the immediate community's well-being, often by being active in the outlying neighborhood. Cellarers are busy behind the scenes, doing what's necesary so that all else runs smoothly. But once he identifies these 'roles', Benson points out that a simple 'division of labor' does not alway apply. That is, it's not like in each community (a family, a church, an intentionally gathered group of friends) there are individuals assuming each position for the duration, but rather that all members are likely to fill each role on different occasions.

    A friend loaned me this book and I've been glad for the gift. Highly recommended. Robert Benson When I read this book 10 years ago, it was revolutionary to me. Now it's just comfortable, since I've implemented a lot of it in my own life. It's still excellent. Robert Benson If one has never read anything about the Rule of St. Benedict, this is a great place to start. I strongly recommend that you have a copy of the Rule also. In fact, I recommend you read the Rule of St. Benedict and then read this book.

    If you are well acquainted with the Rule, as I am, you may still from joy reading it because the author shares his own personal stuff with us and illumines the RB through his experiences. I've been living a Benedictinesque (I made that word up) since Feb,1982 and I had much enjoyment reading it. Robert Benson Benson takes The Rule of Saint Benedict as a starting point for reflection on--as the title states--a good life. Benson explores Saint Benedict's four pieces of life: prayer, rest, community, and work. Then, in the end, Benson issues an invitation for us all to write our own Rule of Whatever-Your-Name-Is, to take hold of Benedict's words and wrestle with them until there are moments that begin to reveal to you a way to order your life in ways that make it more possible for you to balance your prayer and your rest and your community and your work (73).

    I enjoyed the book greatly, and I found it often inspiring and convicting, with some simply wonderful moments, obeservations, and quotations along the way. For me, the book's limitation is largely that it stops at invitation. There are moments where Benson refers to the retreats that he often leads and begins to suggest questions and concerns that he invites retreat participants to reflect upon and answer as he guides them toward authoring their own rule. While I recognize no prescribed method is going to generate a meaningful rule of one's own, I really found myself wanting at least a little bit of apparatus to work with--some more tangible suggestion of the next steps that one might take. Robert Benson I cherished my reading of this book. Robert Benson