St. Benedict’s Toolbox Explained

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St. Benedict’s Toolbox Explained

Although you may use some of Benedict’s tools while you’re making difficult repairs or standing in long lines, you probably won’t purchase this Toolbox in a hardware store, for it’s not a collection of hammers, screwdrivers and wrenches.

St. Benedict’s Toolbox is a book!

St. Benedict’s Toolbox: The Nuts and Bolts of Everyday Benedictine Living is a book about how ideas from the sixth century can guide us to a Christ-centered life today.

The Inspiration: The Rule of St. Benedict

In the sixth century a man named Benedict who was from Nursia in Italy designed what he termed “a little rule” in order to help the monastic community that he founded to better love God, self and each other by providing some guidelines on how to live a spiritual life in community. The rule covers topics like

  • prayer and worship,
  • forming healthy relationships,
  • how to use time and maintain a balanced life,
  • personal conduct,
  • leadership and authority,
  • hospitality, service and possessions.
The Rule itself fosters a way of life that is rooted and grounded in Christ and becomes a tool that we can use to find a center of stability and balance so needed in today’s world.
The Rule is designed “for ordinary people who live ordinary lives…It was written to provide a model of spiritual development for the average person who intends to live life beyond the superficial or the uncaring.”1
St Benedict’s Toolbox: The Nuts and Bolts of Everyday Benedictine Living brings valuable ideas from this monastic rule into everyday 21st century life. Through this book you’ll discover just how much of his Rule can increase the quality of your life by giving “tools,” in Benedict’s words, “to open our eyes to the light that comes from God.”2

What is the style of the book?

Each chapter of the book first presents various aspects of the Rule in down-to-earth language. Then, at the end of the chapter, you’ll find the Toolbox where between three to eight “tools” help you apply what you learned to daily life. These tools are varied in their content and application.

Some tools offer instruction on prayer and other spiritual disciplines.

Some ask you to reflect on your life in light of what you learned about the Rule.

Some tools give suggestions for how to maintain healthy relationships in your life.

Still others address how you spend your time, how you view your work and how you might live a more Christ-centered life.

Chapters also include interludes that offer a change of pace to the reading. They’re either stories or reflections on the aspect of the Rule covered in that chapter. As you read this book you’ll learn to use Benedict’s tools, and discover the power—and the timelessness—of this ancient way of life.

1. Chittister, Joan, O.S.B. Wisdom Distilled From The Daily: Living the Rule of St. Benedict Today. San Francisco, Harper, 1991, p. 4. 2. This quote from the Rule is found in the Prologue to the Rule. The translation is RB1980: The Rule of Benedict in English, edited by Timothy Fry, OSB and published by The Liturgical Press in 1981.

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