"The Lord waits for us to translate his teachings into action," wrote Saint Benedict, the sixth-century monk who created a Rule of Life that has guided people for centuries in their quest to find a balanced existence that blends prayer, rest, community, and work. In this handy and insightful paperback, Robert Benson, a frequent retreat leader and conference speaker, offers advice, stories, and practice suggestions for those interested in setting up their own Rule of Life.
Many people find great meaning in the daily office, the liturgy of the hours, or fixed-hour prayer, feeling that this practice connects them to the saints and fellow Christians around the world. Of course, these regular rituals also put them in sync with Muslims who pray five times a day. Others aspire to praying without ceasing by giving a spiritual intention to physical exercise, a walk in nature, time spent in silence, or service of others.
Benson makes it clear that his Rule of Life has helped him be Christ to others and to welcome the Christ in others. We like the way he expresses this life of service: "The picture of Christ that is given us in the Gospels is clear. If we are going to be like him, then we are to stop by the well and offer water to those who are thirsty. We are to wash the feet of those to whom we have been given. We are to cook the breakfast on the shoreline for those who have been up all night. We are to stop in the crowd and try to figure out who has brushed up against us. We are to keep our hearts and arms open for the children when they are trying to get our attention."
A Good Life by Robert Benson is a fine primer on everyday spirituality bolstered by practice.