Review: Monastic Practices

Monastic PracticesMonastic Practices by Charles Cummings
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

For anyone who has even the remotest connection with the monastic life, for example as an Oblate of a Benedictine house, there is much in this book to assist them in deepening their understanding of that particular form of religious life. With necessary adaptions from the clearly monastic thrust of the book, which would be a very wonderful guide for the new arrival or novice, the reach of this book reaches beyond the monastic enclosure into the broader desire of some believers for a specific way of living the spiritual life.

I found the entire book thought-provoking and at times challenging to my spiritual life, and I would recommend it to anyone who similarly wants to deepen their spiritual journey. I have a suspicion that I will be revisiting this book on a regular basis as a means of reconnecting with some of the basics.

From the blurb:

For three decades, Monastic Practices has been a valued resource for English-speaking aspirants to monastic life. In this revised edition, updated and expanded, Charles Cummings, OCSO, explores the common practices of the monastic life in order to rediscover them as viable means of leading persons to a deeper encounter with God. How do monks and nuns occupy themselves throughout the day? Have they modernized their lifestyle or is it still cluttered with medieval customs? Could any of the monastic practices be of use to those outside the monastery? A certain wisdom is necessary to know how to use such practices and how to give oneself to them until they lead one to God.

After long monastic experience, Cummings shows us how the ordinary things we do constitute our path to God. In the art of living life, he argues, we are always beginners, searching for God through our concrete circumstances and actions.

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