"Today the concept of truth is viewed with suspicion, because truth is identified with violence. Over history there have, unfortunately, been episodes when people sought to defend the truth with violence. But they are two contrasting realities. Truth cannot be imposed with means other than itself! Truth can only come with its own light. Yet, we need truth. ... Without truth we are blind in the world, we have no path to follow. The great gift of Christ was that He enabled us to see the face of God".Pope Benedict xvi, February 24th, 2012

The Church is ecumenical, catholic, God-human, ageless, and it is therefore a blasphemy—an unpardonable blasphemy against Christ and against the Holy Ghost—to turn the Church into a national institution, to narrow her down to petty, transient, time-bound aspirations and ways of doing things. Her purpose is beyond nationality, ecumenical, all-embracing: to unite all men in Christ, all without exception to nation or race or social strata. - St Justin Popovitch

Friday 12 February 2010

MONASTICISM IN THE WEST (by Jordan Aumann O.P.: Christian Spirituality in the Catholic Tradition )


There is little documentary evidence of monasticism in the West before the middle of the fourth century, at which time it was already flourishing in the East.(1) However, since there was constant communication between Rome and the centers of monasticism in Egypt, Palestine and Alexandria, it is probable that Christians in Rome knew about the monastic movement. What is certain is that St. Athanasius visited Trier during the time of his first exile between 336 and 338, and he was in Rome in 340. His Life of Antony, which had such a great role in the popularization of the monastic life, was quickly translated into Latin for Christians in the West.

On the other hand, it is possible that monastic life in the West could have developed without any direct influence from the East. The ascetics, virgins and widows were already observing some of the practices proper to a monastic life style. Eusebius even speaks of an ascetic living in solitude as early as the middle of the third century.(2) But one of the distinguishing elements of monastic life was absent in the first few centuries of the Church in the West, namely, separation from the world. The early ascetics preferred life in community to a solitary life separated from the world. Consequently, although we cannot say with certainty that monastic life in the West was strictly an importation from the East, during the fourth and fifth centuries eastern monasticism was a dominant influence on the development of monastic communities in the West.


Writing in the 380's, St. Jerome states that the name "monk" was held in contempt, probably because of certain male and female ascetics who were excessively charismatic and lacking in discipline.(3) At the same time he spoke favorably of the monastic life of certain noble Roman ladies for whom he served as spiritual director. In spite of some opposition to the ascetical movement, St. Jerome fostered this type of life during his three years in Rome.

Another promoter of the ascetical life was St. Ambrose (+ 397) whose own sister Marcellina began to live the ascetical life in Rome in 353 and later moved to Milan.(4) As bishop of Milan, he was the patron of a community of men near Milan, and it was here that St. Augustine first encountered anything resembling the monastic life.

It has been said that Eusebius, Bishop of Vercelli from 344 to his death in 371, founded the first monastic community in the Latin Church. However, since he was exiled to the East in 355 for refusing to sign the condemnation of St. Athanasius at the synod at Milan, it is likely that he established the community after his return from the East in 363.

St. Paulinus of Nola was also a founder of monastic life. Born in Bordeaux around 353, he married Therasia, a Spanish lady and devout Christian. When their only child died in infancy, they decided to dedicate their lives to asceticism, continence and prayer. They left Barcelona and settled at Naples in 395, where they organized a fraternitas monastica composed of relatives and friends, all from the upper class. Paulinus had been ordained a priest -- possibly before leaving Barcelona -- and after Therasia died in 4o8, he became bishop of Nola. He was in contact with most of the ecclesiastical figures of his day, for example, St. Jerome, St. Ambrose, St. Martin of Tours, St. Augustine and St. Honoratus.(5)

St. Martin of Tours completed his military service in 356 and in 360 he went to Poitiers with St. Hilary, where he formed a semi-eremitical community. In 371 he became bishop of Tours, the first monk-bishop in the West, and he promoted monasticism until his death in 397. Having been formed in the monastic life by St. Hilary, who was a great admirer of St. Athanasius and eastern monasticism, St. Martin founded numerous monasteries, among them the famous ones at Ligugé and Marmoutier. So great was the veneration paid to St. Martin as a founder and patron of monastic life that St. Benedict dedicated a chapel to him at Monte Cassino.(6)

Shortly after the death of St. Martin, a monastery was founded by St. Honoratus between 4oo and 410 on the island of Lerins, near Cannes. The monks were for the most part educated men from the upper class and as a result numerous bishops were chosen from their ranks. The monastery at Lerins became a focal point of religious culture for several centuries, producing such eminent figures as St. Caesarius (+ 542), author of monastic rules for men and for women, and Vincent of Lerins, author of the Commonitorium, a treatise on Catholic doctrine.

Meanwhile, St. Jerome, who had become so unpopular in Rome that he left for Palestine after the death of Pope Damasus in 3 84, founded and directed monasteries for men and for women until his death in 420. The monasteries followed the Rule of St. Pachomius, and in 404 St. Jerome translated the Rule of St. Pachomius, his Monita, and his letters into Latin. Previously, Rufinus, onetime friend of St. Jerome, had translated the Rule of St. Basil and the Historia Monachorum in Aegypto into Latin. In this way both St. Jerome and Rufinus exerted a great influence on monasticism in the West.


In John Cassian (+ 435) we have the greatest exponent of the monastic life and the most influential figure prior to St. Benedict. Most likely he was born in the Balkans in 36o and took the name of John as a remembrance of his teacher and patron, St. John Chrysostom.

With his friend Germanus, Cassian entered a monastery in Bethlehem in his youth, and after a short time he went with Germanus to visit the monks in Egypt. He visited the famous monasteries of Cells, Nitria and Scete, and in the last-named place most probably met Evagrius, who died in 399. The two friends returned to Bethlehem and later made a second visit to Egypt. In 400 they were in Constantinople, where Cassian was ordained a deacon by St. John Chrysostom. When Chrysostom was sent into exile in 405, Cassian and Germanus travelled to Rome to plead his cause with the Pope. The next fact that we know for certain is that Cassian was in Provence by 415 and had been ordained a priest. Here Cassian entered upon a very productive work. Since the days of St. Martin of Tours many monasteries had been founded in the area of Provence, but there was no specific rule of life universally accepted and therefore no uniformity of monastic observances. With his background of experience in eastern monasticism and his acquaintance with the various types of monastic life, Cassian was considered an authority on the subject. Not only did he respond to questions and give advice, but he founded a monastery for men near Marseilles -- very likely the Abbey of St. Victor -- and one for women.(7)

His spiritual teachings are contained in his Institutions and Conferences. In the former treatise, Cassian speaks of the monk's garb, prayer and psalmody, ascetical practices, and the eight capital sins that had been enumerated by Evagrius.(8) In the Conferences he discusses the nature of monastic life, prudence, the three renunciations, sources of temptation, prayer, Christian perfection, charisms, chastity and spiritual knowledge.

According to Cassian, the purpose of the monastic life is the interior perfection of the individual monk, and this perfection is not found in the monastic manner of life as such, but in the virtues of the monk himself. The essence of perfection is charity, and the perfection of charity is reached by the way of asceticism. Yet Cassian repeats time and again that the monk is not to seek ascetical practices as a goal in themselves; rather, he is to aspire to the positive spiritual values that are made possible by negation. The asceticism of the monk should pass through three successive phases until the monk attains the perfection of contemplative love:

    The tradition of our Fathers and the authority of Scripture teach us that there are three kinds of renunciation which each of us must endeavor to carry out with all his strength. The first is to reject all the pleasures and all the riches of this world. The second is to renounce ourselves, our vices, our wicked habits, and all the unruly affections of the spirit and of the flesh. And the third is to withdraw our heart from all things present and visible and apply it only to the eternal and invisible .... We shall then arrive at this third renunciation when our spirit, no longer weighed down by the contagion of this animal and earthly body, but purified from the affections of the earth, is raised to heaven by continual meditation on divine things, and is so taken up with the contemplation of the eternal truth that it forgets that it is still enclosed in fragile flesh and, ravished in God, it finds itself so absorbed in his presence that it no longer has ears to hear or eyes to see and it cannot even be impressed by the greatest and most perceptible objects.(9)

Thus, the fruit of asceticism is for Cassian the gift of contemplative prayer. Indeed, the practice of prayer is so essential to Christian spirituality, says Cassian, that just as there can be no prayer without the virtues, so there can be no true virtues without prayer. In the Conferences he distinguishes four kinds of prayer: the prayer that asks pardon for sins, which is proper to beginners in the spiritual life; the prayer that makes good resolutions to God, which is characteristic of those who are progressing in the spiritual life; prayer for the salvation of souls, which is practiced by those who have grown in charity and love of neighbor; the prayer of thanksgiving for graces received, which is proper to those who contemplate God in what Cassian calls the "prayer of fire."(10) And as if to stress that contemplative prayer is not to be identified with a pagan gnosis, Cassian insists that it has its source in the reading of Sacred Scripture and it leads the monk back to Scripture. The one and only perfect good is "the contemplation of God, which must be placed above all merit, above all the virtues of the just, even above all that we read in St. Paul of what is good and useful."(11)

The monastic movement was not without its detractors, however, who found a powerful leader in the ex-monk Jovinian. In his efforts to stem the tide of asceticism, he preached and practiced a Christian life that was so sensate and worldly that St. Jerome branded him "the Christian Epicurus."(12) Jovinian's attack on monasticism led to his denial of the virginity of the Mother of Christ and a rejection of the practice of celibacy among the Latin clergy.(13)

At the other extreme we find the heresy of Messalianism, against which St. Augustine wrote the treatise, De opere monachorum. The basic error of Messalianism was the contention that since monks had left all things for a life of solitude and prayer, all forms of manual labor must be rejected in favor of recollection, silence and prayer.(14) In spite of the attacks on the monastic life, it continued to flourish, although in the West it would undergo radical adaptation, especially at the hands of St. Augustine.


St. Augustine (354-430) has been hailed as the father of theology in the West and the greatest doctor of the Church. His theological accomplishments were so great and so varied that he is at once the depositary of the theological tradition of the East and the source of a new theology for the West. In many areas, such as the theology of creation, the problem of evil, ecclesiology, the virtue of faith, and eschatology, his teaching has been accepted as practically definitive. He attained an insight into the doctrine of the Trinity that no Greek Father had ever equalled, and his theology of grace still dominates our theological investigations.

St. Augustine developed a theology of the spiritual life that was rooted in charity, perfected in wisdom and intimately united to Christ and the Church. In order to understand his teaching, it is helpful to review briefly the doctrine on original sin and grace that emerged from his struggle with the Pelagians.

The fundamental principle that lies at the heart of Pelagianism is the autonomy of human liberty. Man was created free, and although his freedom is a gift from God, it is so essential to man that he could not exist without it. Having given man this freedom, God cannot intervene without destroying it, and therefore man is his own master; his freedom "emancipates" him from God. Man's free choice is the sole determinant of his actions and whether he chooses good or evil, the act proceeds entirely from his own free choice.

Moreover, since man was in no way affected by original sin or its effects, according to the Pelagians, man is fundamentally good and his free will suffices to keep him sinless. For the Pelagians grace was not considered a principle of divine life within the soul nor a power that affects man's faculties interiorly; it is something exterior to man. The teaching and example of Christ assist our power to do good, but the actual willing and doing are exclusively in our own hands. And since man can achieve holiness by his own efforts, it is of obligation that he do so. Every good act is of obligation; there are no counsels, nor is there any real need for prayer of petition. There is no distinction between mortal sin and venial sin, for all sins are equally serious. All that remains is duty and obligation: what a man can do, he must do.

St. Augustine's response to the Pelagians can be summarized as follows: Out of divine goodness, God created the world and man; the latter was created for an intimate union of personal fellowship with a personal God. To this end, God created our first parents in the state of innocence and endowed them with preternatural gifts of bodily immortality, immunity from sickness and death, infused knowledge and perfect integrity. Their state in relation to sin was posse non peccare, and after attaining glory, their state would be non posse peccare. In spite of all his gifts, man committed the original sin, not because God's prohibition conflicted with man's desires, but because man as a creature was subject to change and therefore able to turn away from his true good. The root of the sin was pride; man wanted to be his own master. As a result of his fall, Adam was placed in the state of non posse non peccare. His love of God was changed to love of self; his intellect was clouded with ignorance and his will was inclined to evil; he lost the subordination of his lower powers to reason; he was doomed to die; sexual concupiscence became the strongest inclination of his flesh. And since Adam sinned as the father and head of all humanity, all men were in Adam when he sinned, and all men have inherited his sin as well as its effects.

Since original sin, the human race is a mass of corruption. Man still retains a restless longing for God and for the good, but his freedom to accomplish the good is lost; therefore, without God's help, man can only sin. Justification and salvation are exclusively the work of God. The first requisite for justification is faith in Christ, but faith is impossible without the "prevenient" grace of God. It is not a question of man's accepting or rejecting God's gift of grace and faith, for if that were so, everything would ultimately depend on man and not on God. That a man accepts the grace of God is due to the grace of God.

St. Augustine defended the reality of sanctifying grace against the Pelagians by stating that justification implies a positive element besides remission of sins, some new reality inhering in the soul. He speaks of this reality as a divine adoption, a divinization of the soul which thereby becomes an image of God, a participation in the justice and holiness of God himself. Thus, commenting on Romans 5:5 : "The love of God has been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit which has been given us," St. Augustine says: "Indeed, the love of God is said to be diffused in our hearts; not the love whereby he himself loves us, but the love whereby he makes us lovers of him; just as the justice of God whereby we are made just through his gift.... This is the justice of God which he not only teaches through the precept of law but he also gives through the gift of the Spirit."

It is, however, on the question of actual grace that the teaching of St. Augustine seems ambivalent; at least, it has been interpreted in contrary senses. Certain expressions seem, for example, to deny man's freedom under grace: "God works in us, to will and to do"; "God's will and grace always obtain their effect in us"; "Whichever delights us most, that we must necessarily choose." And yet, the entire treatise De gratia et libero arbitrio was written by St. Augustine as a defense of man's freedom. According to Portalié, three fundamental principles are at the basis of St. Augustine's theology of actual grace: 1) God, through his grace, is absolute master of all the determinations of the human will; 2) man is as free with grace as he is without it; 3) the compatibility of these two principles rests on the mode of divine government.(15)

In view of his teaching on grace, wherein St. Augustine valiantly defended the gratuitousness of grace and the freedom and responsibility of man's cooperation with grace, his teaching on the spiritual life likewise places great emphasis on these two elements. First of all, St. Augustine requires docility to the Holy Spirit, through humility, faith and the practice of prayer; secondly, he demands a response to grace through the imperation of charity, which bears fruit in good works. From the subjective point of view, charity is the summation of the entire moral life and it is likewise the essence of Christian perfection: perfect charity is perfect justice.(16) Indeed, Scripture commands nothing else but charity. And this charity is for Augustine nothing other than the love of God for himself and the love of self and neighbor because of. God.(17)

However, the perfection of charity is attained only after the soul is strengthened and purified by the practice of the virtues; and even then it is always a relative perfection, since there is no terminus to charity. "We shall have perfect charity," says Augustine, "when we see God as he is. For there will be nothing more that can be added to our love when we have attained vision."(18) Here on earth, however, "it is the property of perfection to recognize that it is imperfect," yet "the more you love, the more you will be raised up."(19) When the soul's love reaches its perfection, the soul enjoys intimate union with God, since love by its very nature tends to become one with the beloved. At this point the soul enjoys that true wisdom which for Augustine constitutes mystical contemplation.

In the treatise, De quantitate animae, St. Augustine lists seven stages through which the soul normally passes as it advances to contemplation. The first three stages refer to the vegetative, sensitive and rational levels of human life. But the Christian does not begin to make true progress toward perfection until the fourth stage, which is that of virtue, accompanied by purification. The fifth stage is called tranquillity, to denote the peace that follows from control of the passions. The sixth stage is called the entrance into the divine light (ingressio in lucem), in which the soul seeks to penetrate the divinity; there, if it succeeds, it passes on to the seventh and final stage which is that of habitual union and indwelling (mansio).(20) That this last stage is truly mystical contemplation and not the philosophical contemplation of a neo-Platonist is evident from St. Augustine's commentary on Psalm 41:

    But is the God for whom [the soul] seeks, something like its own spirit? Certainly, we can see God only by means of the spirit; and yet God is not what our own spirit is. For the spirit of the prophet seeks something that is God, so that, having found him, he will no longer be exposed to the scorn of those who say to him: "Where is your God?". . . .

    Seeking my God in visible and corporal things, and not finding him; seeking his substance in myself, as if he were something similar to what I am, and not finding him; I perceive that my God is something superior to my soul. Then, to succeed in attaining to him, "I meditated on these things and I poured out my soul above myself." How indeed can my soul attain what it must seek above itself if my soul does not pour itself out above itself? If it remains within itself, it will see nothing but itself, and in itself it will not see its God . . . . "I have poured out my soul above myself" and there remains nothing more to lay hold of other than my God Indeed, it is there, it is above my soul, that the house of God is.(21)

In the doctrine on the contemplative and the active life, St. Augustine surpasses all the theologians who preceded him, and together with St. Gregory the Great and St. Thomas Aquinas, he must be recognized as an authority on the subject. In De civitate Dei, Augustine discusses the active and contemplative aspects of wisdom: the active part pertains to the cultivation of virtue and the contemplative part refers to the consideration of truth. In Contra Faustum he symbolizes the active life by Leah and the contemplative life by Rachel, but in such a way that the active life is taken for man's mortal life on earth, in which he lives by faith, and the contemplative life is reserved for eternity, where man will enjoy the eternal contemplation of God. This same notion is found in St. Augustine's commentary on the Gospel of St. John: "The active life is signified by the apostle Peter, the contemplative by John. The first is wholly carried out here until the end of this world, and there finds an end; the last is deferred, to be completed after the end of this world, but in the world to come it has no end."(22) However, St. Augustine also treated of the contemplative and active phases of life here on earth and he maintains that no man can be exclusively active or exclusively contemplative, but that these two types of operation alternate in the lives of individuals.

    There are two powers set before the human soul, the one active and the other contemplative. Through the former one makes progress, through the latter he attains his goal. By active power he labors to purify his heart for the vision of God; by contemplative power he is at rest, beholding God. Therefore, the one consists in observing those precepts by which we must toil in this temporal life, while the other fills us with truths concerning that everlasting life to come.

    Consequently, the active power is engaged in struggle, but the contemplative power enjoys repose .... A second consequence is that in this mortal life the active power consists in the pursuit of a good manner of living, but the contemplative power consists especially in faith and, for a very few, in some partial vision of the unchangeable truth, seen through a mirror in an obscure manner (I Cor. 13:12).(23)

When comparing the active with the contemplative life, as he does when he speaks of Martha and Mary, St. Augustine does not hesitate to give the superiority to the contemplative life. "Martha chose a good part, but Mary the better .... She has chosen to contemplate, to live by the word."(24) He repeats the same doctrine in Sermon 179;

    Martha's part is holy and great, but Mary has chosen the better part, for while her sister was solicitous and working and attending to many things, Mary was quiet and sat still and listened. Mary's part will not be taken from her, but Martha's will, because the ministering to the saints will pass away; to whom will food be given, where no one is hungry? Mary's part will not pass away because she found her delight injustice and in truth, and this will be her delight in eternity.

From the active and contemplative exercises of life, St. Augustine turns his attention to the various ways of living. He states that there are three modes of life: the life of contemplation or study of the truth, the life dedicated to human affairs, and the life which is a combination of the two. In attempting to decide which of the three forms it is best to choose, St. Augustine insists that the choice should be determined by the degree to which any one of the three will facilitate the attainment of a man's ultimate end.

    As to these three modes of life -- the contemplative, the active or the composite -- although a man may choose any one of them without detriment to his eternal interests, as long as his faith is preserved, yet he must never overlook the obligations of truth and duty. No man has a right to lead such a life of contemplation as to forget the service he owes to his neighbor; nor has any man a right to be so immersed in the active life that he neglects the contemplation of God.(25)

St. Augustine's teaching on the three modes of Christian living was carried into practice, for it was he, says Pourrat, who "began the cenobitic life for men in Africa."(26) Indeed, Bouyer advises that "the work of Augustine directly related to spirituality should not be considered apart from what might be called his work with regard to institutions, particularly in the domain of the monastic life."(27)

Unlike John Cassian, St. Augustine did not promote an eastern type of monasticism; rather, he introduced a new form of cenobitic life. He had first come into contact with the monastic life at Milan and in 386 he retired with a few companions to a, quasi-monastic retreat. When he returned to Tagaste, North Africa, in 388, he continued his cenobitic life; then, after his ordination to the priesthood in 391, he founded his first monastery. The members of the community were called "servants of God" and they held all possessions in common.

When St. Augustine became a bishop in 386, he converted his household into a monastery, insisting on the common life and the renunciation of all personal possessions. He likewise made this a condition for ordination to the priesthood in his diocese. One of the motivating factors for Augustine's insistence on the common life, personal poverty and celibacy was not only the obvious advantage of the mutual support that the clergy could offer each other, but also the proper environment for a life of study and reflection. However, as Bouyer observes, "this common life little by little abandoned its contemplative purpose to become directed toward an ideal of pastoral service.(28) In this way, a foundation was laid for the later emergence of the canons regular and the mendicant friars.

Three separate treatises on monastic life have been attributed to St. Augustine: Obiurgatio, Praeceptum and Ordo monasterii. The task of determining the origin and authenticity of these documents has been one of the most challenging investigations in patristic research. Although there is still some disagreement, it is generally believed that the Praeceptum or Regula ad servos Dei, known as the Rule of St. Augustine, is an authentic work, composed most likely in 397 for St. Augustine's community at Hippo. The Obiurgatio, addressed to a community of virgins at Hippo, is also probably authentic. Later a feminine version of the Regula ad servos Dei was added as an appendix, and this is Letter 211 . The Ordo monasterii is now attributed to Alypius rather than to St. Augustine and the Rule of St. Augustine as it now stands consists of the opening sentence of the Ordo monasterii and the rest is the complete text of the Praeceptum.(29)

St. Augustine's concept of monastic life was firmly rooted in the description of the "vita apostolica" found in Acts 4:32-35. In accordance with the western mentality, he had the highest regard for the common life, admonishing the members of the community to be of one heart and one mind in God, because the purpose of their coming together was to exercise fraternal charity. St. Augustine goes so far as to give his own original interpretation to the Greek word monachos, which means one, alone or solitary:

    Since the Psalm says: "Behold how good and how pleasant it is that brothers should dwell together in unity," why then should we not call monks by this name? For monos is "one," but not one in just any way; for an individual in a crowd is "one" and although he can be called "one" when he is with others, he cannot be monos, that is, "alone," for monos means "one alone." Hence those who live together so as to form one person, so that they really possess, as Scripture says, "one mind and one heart," . . . can properly be called monos, that is, "one alone."(30)

The monastic practices in the Augustinian community were the traditional ones: community and personal prayer, silence, humility, austerities, obedience, celibacy, poverty, but the emphasis was always on fraternal charity. As one author puts it: "If the basic observances were the same as in the East or in Europe, there was nevertheless a difference of tone in the monasticism of Augustine. His concern with the value of community led to an emphasis upon the relationships of brothers to one another, whereas the Egyptian tradition was more concerned with the relationship of each individual to God via the spiritual father."(31)

The influence of St. Augustine on monasticism was extensive, especially in France, Italy and Spain. Even the Rule of St. Benedict contains traces of Augustinian doctrine.

    Later the Rule of St. Benedict was likewise influenced by Augustine; though here the actual quantity of literary borrowing is rather discreet, the qualitative influence of Augustine's thought, derived not only from his rule but from numerous other works as well, is extremely significant. While the [Rule of St. Benedict] remains primarily in the tradition of Egypt as mediated by Cassian and the [Regula Magistri], the second most important influence upon it is that of Augustine, whose humaneness and concern for fraternal relationships have contributed to the [Rule of St. Benedict] some of its best known and most admired qualities. It has rightly been said that "with the Rule of Augustine western monasticism entered upon the road which led to Benedict.(32)


Early in the fifth century -- in 410 to be exact -- the civilized world was shocked at the news of the fall of Rome at the hands of Alaric. Soon all of Italy was ravaged by the Goths, while the Vandals pillaged North Africa and in 455 invaded the city of Rome. During the reign of Theodoric, from 493 to 526, there was an era of relative peace, but in 535 the eastern emperor Justinian waged war throughout Italy in an attempt to regain the West. The Goths were defeated in 553 but in 568 the Lombards waged a destructive war before settling in the north of Italy.

At the same time, the Church was torn apart by heresies. The Christological controversies were centered in the East but because of the close political and ecclesiastical ties between the East and the West, the Holy See had to exert great effort to preserve orthodoxy. In the West the most serious challenges came from Pelagianism and the controversies about grace, the semi-Pelagian teaching that posed a problem for monastic asceticism, and the effects of the Arian heresy.

Such was the civil and ecclesiastical turmoil during the lifetime of St. Benedict of Nursia (480-547), called the father and legislator of western monasticism. Born of an illustrious family and educated in Rome, he retired to a life of solitude at Subiaco, about forty miles from the city of Rome. Three years later he reluctantly accepted the invitation of some monks to act as their spiritual director but when they refused to follow the monastic observances, Benedict returned to Subiaco. There he attracted followers and within a short time he had organized twelve monasteries of twelve monks each, somewhat similar to the lauras of St. Pachomius in the East. As yet there was no basic rule for the government of these small monasteries, although each one was subject to a superior and all were under the direction of Benedict.

According to one account, a neighboring priest named Florentius exerted every effort to discredit Benedict and to poison the minds of the young monks. Whether that was the reason for his departure or not, Benedict went with Maurus, Placidus and several companions to Monte Cassino, eighty miles south of Rome, and there, in 529, began the construction of a monastery. Later, he sent monks to establish another monastery at Terracina. St. Benedict spent the rest of his life at Monte Cassino and died in 547, a little more than a month after the death of his sister, St. Scholastica, abbess of a monastery of nuns near Monte Cassino.(33)

    Unlike Caesarius, Cassiodorus and other monastic figures of the period, St. Benedict is not mentioned by any of his contemporaries nor in any literature that can be dated earlier than the end of the sixth century. He does not even identify himself in the Rule, and hence it cannot be used as a source of information about him until his authorship can be otherwise established. Nor has he left any other writings. For our knowledge of him, we are entirely dependent upon a single source, the Dialogues of Pope Gregory the Great.(34)

The Rule of St. Benedict is the most influential document in all of western monasticism, for although there were numerous other monastic rules in this period, it was the Rule of St. Benedict that the Council of Aix-la-Chapelle, in 817, proposed as the basic rule for monastic life. It is not, as some have asserted, an entirely original innovation, but it draws on a number of previous sources such as St. Pachomius, St. Basil, Cassian, St. Augustine and the Regula Magistri.(35) St. Benedict had a gift for synthesizing the essential elements of these diverse sources, with the result that his Rule is at once a faithful continuation of the monastic traditions and practices and at the same time a personal contribution to the necessary adaptation of monasticism to contemporary needs.

The Rule of St. Benedict can be divided, as was the Regula Magistri, into two main sections: the Prologue and the first seven chapters consist of spiritual doctrine; the remainder (chapters 8-73) provides regulations for the life and discipline of the monastery. Most of the first section is taken almost literally from the Regula Magistri, and it begins with the well-known phrase, "Listen carefully, my son, to the master's instructions, and attend to them with the ear of your heart." Then follows the challenge: "This message of mine is for you, then, if you are ready to give up your own will, once and for all, and armed with the strong and noble weapons of obedience to do battle for the true King, Christ the Lord."(36) The central concept in the Prologue is that the monastery is a "school for the Lord's service," and St. Benedict concludes the Prologue with the words:

    Do not be daunted immediately by fear and run away from the road that leads to salvation. It is bound to be narrow at the outset. But as we progress in this way of life and in faith, we shall run on the path of God's commandments, our hearts overflowing with the inexpressible delight of love. Never swerving from his instructions, then, but faithfully observing his teaching in the monastery until death, we shall through patience share in the sufferings of Christ that we may deserve also to share in his kingdom. Amen.

In the first chapter of the Rule St. Benedict lists four types of monks: the cenobites, who live in community under a rule or an abbot; the hermits or anchorites, who have lived in the monastery for a long time and are now sufficiently strong to live a life of solitude in the desert; the sarabaites, self-willed monks who followed their own inclinations instead of living according to a monastic rule; and the gyrovagues, who are constantly on the move, drifting from one monastery to another and never settling down in one place. After stating his preference for the cenobitic monastic life, St. Benedict discusses the qualities and duties of the abbot, the regulations concerning the community council, and then offers a series of maxims for the spiritual life. The first section concludes with an explanation of three fundamental virtues required of a monk: obedience, the practice of silence, and humility.

    The first step of humility, then, is that a man keeps the fear of God always before his eyes and never forgets it .... The second step of humility is that a man loves not his own will nor takes pleasure in the satisfaction of his desires .... The third step of humility is that a man submits to his superior in all obedience for the love of God . . . . The fourth step of humility is that in this obedience under difficult, unfavorable, or even unjust conditions, his heart quietly embraces suffering and endures it without weakening or seeking escape . ... The fifth step of humility is that a man does not conceal from his abbot any sinful thoughts entering his heart, or any wrongs committed in secret, but rather confesses them humbly . . . . The sixth step of humility is that a monk is content with the lowest and most menial treatment, and regards himself as a poor and worthless workman in whatever task he is given . . . . The seventh step of humility is that a man not only admits with his tongue but is also convinced in his heart that he is inferior to all and of less value .... The eighth step of humility is that a monk does only what is endorsed by the common rule of the monastery and the example set by his superiors . . . . The ninth step of humility is that a monk controls his tongue and remains silent, not speaking unless asked a question .... The tenth step of humility is that he is not given to ready laughter . . . . The eleventh step of humility is that a monk speaks gently and without laughter, seriously and with becoming modesty, briefly and reasonably, but without raising his voice . . . . The twelfth step of humility is that a monk always manifests humility in his bearing no less than in his heart...(37)

In the second section of the Rule the lengthiest treatment is devoted to liturgical prayer, chapters 8-20. In this section also the original contribution of St. Benedict to monastic life is much more evident, especially in his discussion of fraternal relationships among the monks, his sense of community, his insistence on prudence as a necessary virtue for the abbot, and his concern that the monk fulfill his monastic duties for spiritual motives. In order to attain his goal as a contemplative, the monk must devote himself to three daily activities: liturgical prayer, lectio and some type of labor.

Besides the traditional night office (after midnight), the monks assembled seven times during the day for common prayer consisting of psalms and readings from Scripture. In addition, approximately four hours each day were devoted to lectio, which included prayerful reading of Scripture or commentaries by the Fathers and monastic authors, private mental prayer, and the memorizing of biblical passages. The labor prescribed by the Rule was for the support of the monks and also to provide help for the needy. There is no mention in the Rule of work as related to the apostolate, nor is there any academic or scholarly motivation given for the reading of Scripture and the Fathers. Since most of the monks were laymen as was St. Benedict -- there was no priestly ministry and St. Benedict laid down detailed regulations concerning the admission of priests to the monastic life (chapter 60) and the ordination of monks to the priesthood (chapter 62).

As if to emphasize that the monastic life is a "school for the Lord's service," as stated in the Prologue, St. Benedict concludes the Rule with the following words:

    The reason we have written this rule is that, by observing it in monasteries, we can show that we have some degree of virtue and the beginnings of monastic life. But for anyone hastening on to the perfection of monastic life, there are the teachings of the holy Fathers, the observance of which will lead him to the very heights of perfection. What page, what passage of the inspired books of the Old and New Testaments is not the truest of guides for human life? What book of the holy catholic Fathers does not resoundingly summon us along the true way to reach the Creator? Then, besides the Conferences of the Fathers, their Institutes and their Lives, there is also the rule of our holy father Basil. For observant and obedient monks, all these are nothing less than tools for the cultivation of virtues; but as for us, they make us blush for shame at being so slothful, so unobservant, so negligent. Are you hastening toward your heavenly home? Then, with Christ's help, keep this little rule that we have written for beginners. After that, you can set out for the loftier summits of the teaching and virtues we mentioned above, and under God's protection you will reach them. Amen.(38)


The magnificent history and apostolic zeal of the monks of Ireland can be summarized in the life and works of St. Patrick and St. Columbanus.(39) St. Patrick (+493), of course, is the patron of Ireland and the founder of Irish monasticism. Born in 389 -- some say in Scotland; others, in France -- he was taken prisoner by pirates and at the age of sixteen found himself in servitude as a shepherd in Ireland. Six years later he escaped and found his way to France, where he received an education in monastic schools, either at Marmoutiers, founded by St. Martin of Tours, or at Lerins, founded by St. Honoratus. After being ordained a bishop, he was sent to Ireland by Pope Celestine and worked zealously for the conversion of the Celts. He founded numerous monasteries, the most famous being that at Armagh.

The Church in Ireland developed along the lines of the clan and the way of life in the local churches was almost monastic. Both monks and nuns accompanied St. Patrick on his missionary journeys and throughout the centuries the Irish monks were famous for their evangelization of foreign lands. The Celtic monks also cultivated a love of learning, so that Ireland became known as the isle of saints and scholars.

During the sixth century monastic foundations were made in Ireland in rapid succession: St. Enda established a monastery in the Aran Islands near Galway; St. Finnian founded Clonard; St. Brendan, the abbey of Clonfert; St. Columcille, the monastery at Derry. Later, St. Columcille crossed over to Scotland and founded Iona, from which St. Aidan went to Northumbria to make the foundation of Lindisfarne. Finally, St. Comgall founded the famous monastery of Bangor in Ulster, which sent out the greatest of the Irish missionary-monks, St. Columbanus.

Born around the year 540, St. Columbanus led a group of Irish monks to France, where he founded several monasteries which became centers of learning and evangelization. Since the Irish abbots were not subject to bishops, in due time Columbanus came into conflict with the French episcopate and both for that reason and for criticizing the royal family, he was expelled from France. He made his way across the Alps to Switzerland and to Italy, and at Bobbio he founded a monastery. He died there in 615.(40)

St. Columbanus composed the Regula monachorum but it was such a severe rule that the Columban monks soon began to transfer to other monasteries in Europe or adapt their monastic observances to a more moderate norm. Gradually the monasteries founded by St. Columbanus in France, Switzerland and Italy adopted the more moderate Rule of St. Benedict. They did so not only because the Regula monachorum was too rigorous and demanding, but also because St. Benedict's legislation enabled them to adjust more easily to the Roman liturgical practice and thus abandon the Celtic liturgy.

Meanwhile, in England, St. Illtud founded a monastery on the island of Caldey and an abbey in Wales at the beginning of the sixth century. His foremost disciples were St. Gildas, who later emigrated to Brittany, and St. David, patron of Wales. Then, in 596, Pope Gregory the Great sent forty monks from his former monastery on the Coelian Hill in Rome, with the superior Augustine at their head, to evangelize England. The monks settled at Canterbury with the king's permission but almost immediately a conflict arose between the Roman and the Celtic liturgical practices. This tension subsided, however, in 664 when the English Church allied itself with the Roman faction.


St. Gregory (+604) is the first monk to become a pope and throughout his pontificate he never lost his nostalgia for the monastic life. Thanks to his influence, Benedictine monasticism became, as Cayré puts it, "the conquering army of the Roman Church."(41) When the need arose, Gregory did not hesitate to ordain monks to the priesthood and even to assign them to apostolic work. As regards the spiritual life, his teaching on the active and contemplative life, on the grades of spiritual progress, and on contemplation is especially significant. More than the other Fathers of the Church, he devoted much of his writing to pastoral concerns, and especially directives for the pastoral ministry, the requirements of candidates for the priesthood, and the apostolate of preaching.

Born around 540 of a noble family, he became prefect of Rome in 570. Five years later he converted his home on the Coehan Hill into a monastery and was the founder of six other monasteries in Sicily. It has frequently been stated that Gregory was a Benedictine monk but the truth of the matter is that we do not know what the monastic observance was at St. Andrew's on the Coelian Hill. According to Peifer, "it is an anachronism to speak of Gregory and his monks as `Benedictine' in the later sense of that term, for in the sixth century a rule did not serve as a detailed code regulating the life except in the monastery for which it was written. Monasteries frequently made use of several rules, taking from each what they found suitable."(42)

In 579 Gregory was sent to Constantinople as papal nuncio, where he continued to live the monastic life, and in 586 he returned to his monastery in Rome. Named a deacon to Pope Pelagius II, Gregory was elected Pope in 590 and reigned for fourteen years.(43) As pope he worked unceasingly for the conversion of the pagans; he combated the vices of his contemporaries; he defended the temporal possessions of the Holy See and the primacy of the Bishop of Rome. Although a contemplative by temperament, Pope Gregory dedicated all his efforts to live up to his preferred title, "Servant of the servants of God." In spite of his demanding pastoral work, Gregory left an extensive literary production: 85o Letters, a moral treatise entitled Expositio in Job or Moralia, his famous Regula Pastoralis on the priesthood, some homilies on the Gospel and on Ezechiel, and most important, the Dialogues. Known as Dialogorum Libri, the last-named work was written in the form of a conversation with his deacon, Peter, and it presents the spiritual and moral teaching of Pope Gregory in the form of stories about the saints of Italy. It is in this work, for example, that we have the best and practically only source of information about St. Benedict.

Although he belongs to the patristic age, St. Gregory exerted an influence on the entire medieval period. He wrote for all -- laity, monks and clergy -- and the primary sources of his doctrine are Scripture, St. Augustine and Cassian. If one attempts to discover what dominated the vital synthesis of his doctrine, he will find that it is the basic problem of the states of life. Like his predecessors, St. Gregory gives the superiority to the contemplative life. He is, in fact, as Leclercq calls him, "the doctor of contemplation."(44)

Before considering St. Gregory's teaching on the active and contemplative life, it is useful to recall his teaching on the stages of progress in the spiritual life. In the first stage the Christian strives to combat vices and gain control of the passions. The second stage is a. period of growth in virtue, and especially the moral virtues, although the theological virtues are also necessary, since without them nothing is pleasing to God. Finally, all the virtues are brought to their perfection by the actuation of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.(45) St. Gregory is, in fact, with St. Thomas Aquinas and John of St. Thomas, an outstanding authority on the theology of the gifts of the Holy Spirit."(46)

As did his doctrine on the gifts of the Holy Spirit, Gregory's teaching on the types of life influenced theology throughout the middle ages. For him, the active life pertains to the operations of the moral virtues which, in turn, dispose the soul for contemplation. The contemplative life is the area of the theological virtues, leading to the perfection of the virtues through the actuation of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Thus, the operations of the active life are listed as follows: "to give bread to the hungry, to teach the ignorant the word of wisdom, to correct the erring, to recall to the path of humility our neighbor when he becomes proud, to care for the sick, to give to all what they need, and to provide those in our charge with the necessities of life."(47) In the contemplative life, on the other hand, one preserves with all his strength the love of God and neighbor but he "rests from all external activity and clings only to the will of the Creator, so that the mind takes no pleasure in doing anything but, having spurned all cares, may be aglow to see the face of its Creator."(48)

Of the two lives, the active life is necessary for salvation, says St. Gregory, since no man can be saved without good works, but the theological virtues are necessary for merit. Therefore, Gregory's distinction between the active life as the life of the moral virtues and the contemplative life as the life of the theological virtues should be understood in the sense that in the latter the theological virtues are more clearly manifested. And of the two lives, says St. Gregory, "the contemplative life is greater in merit than the active . . . . Although the active life is good, the contemplative is better."(49)

Since the Christian life should be patterned after Christ, the contemplative life is possible for men of every state and condition. Christ himself, says St. Gregory, gave the example of both the contemplative and active life in his own person; "he gave his faithful ones an example not to neglect the care of their neighbors through love of contemplation, nor again to abandon contemplative pursuits by being too immoderately engaged in the care of their neighbors."(50) And since St. Gregory realized the difficulty involved in keeping the two types of activity in proper balance, he warns preachers not to neglect service to others because of their devotion to contemplation and not to neglect contemplation because of involvement with the apostolate.(51)

St. Gregory never lost sight of the fact that the precept of charity is twofold, and therefore the contemplative activity which fosters intimacy with God should never be completely separated from the apostolate which provides service to one's neighbor. Indeed, the active life serves as a preparation for the contemplative life and likewise is a consequence of the contemplative life. The Christian should therefore be "able to pass to the contemplative life and yet not abandon the active life .... And he who arrives at contemplation does not abandon the activity of good works whereby he is able to be of use to others."(52) And although relatively few persons may actually attain to contemplation, it is of its nature available to all:

    It is not the case that the grade of contemplation is given to the highest and not given to the lowest; but often the highest and often the most lowly, and very often those who have left the world, and sometimes also those who are married, receive it. If therefore there is no state of life among the faithful from which the grace of contemplation can be excluded, anyone who keeps his heart in custody may also be illuminated by the light of contemplation, so that no one can glory in this grace as if it were extraordinary. It is not the high and eminent members of the holy Church only who have the grace of contemplation, but very often those members receive this gift who, although by desire they already mount to the heights, are actually occupying lowly positions.(53)

St. Gregory sees God and man as the two contrasting terms that are united by man's salvation through Christ and in the Holy Spirit. Aided by God's grace and his own ascetical practices, man can traverse the path to God which terminates in contemplative prayer. Along this "way of salvation" Christ is the Mediator, Model, Redeemer and Intercessor, and St. Gregory advises all Christians to meditate on the mysteries of Christ, both in his humanity and in his divinity, in his sufferings as well as in his glories.(54) But the work of man's salvation is perfected by the Holy Spirit, whom Christ sent after he had ascended to his Father. The Holy Spirit is the gift par excellence and he works in man by his sevenfold gifts. And when the Holy Spirit works in the soul through his gifts, whereby man is led successively from fear to wisdom, the soul is able to enjoy union with God through contemplation.(55)

From the time of St. Gregory's pontificate until the middle of the eighth century, Christianity enjoyed a tremendous expansion throughout all of Europe. As could be expected, there was a long period of adjustment, adaptation and confusion as Christianity absorbed the cultural and temperamental differences of the Saxons, the Franks, the Visigoths, the Lombards and others. But there was also discernible a basic unity which enabled the various races, in spite of accidental differences, to embrace the one, catholic faith.

Leclercq mentions certain factors that contributed to the unity of Christian life during this period.(56) First of all, the Roman Church and monasticism preserved a unified Christian heritage that could be presented to races of people who had no strong traditional culture that had to be rejected and replaced by Christianity. Secondly, the literary sources that nourished this vast evangelization were less abundant and less varied than in other periods. There were treatises of a practical nature, with counsels on asceticism, the practice of prayer, and Christian virtues, but most of them bore the imprint of the teaching of St. Gregory the Great. Even the two outstanding authors of the period -- St. Isidore of Seville and Bede the Venerable -- were greatly indebted to St. Gregory the Great.

In spite of the ambiguity of words which were used to designate the various classes of Christians -- priests, monks, nuns, laity -- the distinctions laid down by St. Gregory the Great and St. Isidore of Seville were still observed. Each state of life retained its own identity and there was a gradual development of a spirituality proper to each. Thus, there were two classes of the laity: the ordinary faithful and the more fervent or devout Christians. The first class, whose form of Christian living was classified by Bede as vita popularis, received a basic instruction on the duties of Christians prior to their baptism; they were given a preparation for marriage, with emphasis on the indissolubility and the purpose of marriage and the duty of fidelity; they received the rest of their religious formation from the ordinary preaching of the clergy. But their knowledge of the faith was rudimentary at best and many of them were greatly attracted to magic, superstition and the occult or preternatural.

The "fervent" Christians, however, constituted an elite and they normally grouped themselves around the churches or monasteries in order to live a penitential life, either for their own past sins or as a voluntary way of life. Both men and women embraced this type of life, which consisted in attendance at the Divine Office in a church or monastery, the practice of private prayer, and a life of austerity. They dressed simply and often the unmarried took the vow of celibacy while the married observed continence. They thus constituted a class of Christians that was clearly differentiated from the "ordinary faithful" and resembled very much the "third orders" and the secular institutes that would come into existence much later. Since many of these "penitents" were uneducated, they were given their own "little office," made up of a litany of Christ or the Blessed Virgin or a specified number of Our Father's and Hail Mary's. The prayers of lay brothers in later centuries and the Rosary itself seem to have their origin in the prayers of the penitents.

Thanks to St. Gregory the Great, the spiritual life of the clergy was guided and protected during this period of confusion and adjustment. What gradually emerged was a grouping of the diocesan clergy around their bishop, both for pastoral work and for the celebration of the Divine Office. Priests were assigned to a designated church for the administration of the sacraments, the liturgy, and preaching; community life was encouraged for the safeguarding of celibacy and for common prayer and liturgy; great stress was placed on the necessity for personal holiness in the life of the priest. A letter written by Bede the Venerable to Egbert of York in 734 contains directives which are typical of the spiritual program for the clergy of the period.(57) Bede also advised priests to instruct the faithful in the recitation of the Creed and the Pater Noster of the Mass in the vernacular and to encourage the faithful to frequent Communion.

However, the predominant influence in the spirituality of this epoch was still monasticism, especially Benedictine monasticism. This was true not only because the monks gave Christians the example of a life of asceticism and virtue, but because a large number of the bishops were selected from among the monks. Once again, two forms of monasticism emerged -- the cloistered monk and the wandering evangelizer -- and Dom Leclercq points to Bede the Venerable and St. Boniface as outstanding examples of the two types. (58)

In the areas of ascetical practices and prayer, we should note the following developments during this epoch. The severe asceticism of the ancient monks and hermits, preserved to a great extent among the Irish monks, gradually gave way to the asceticism of service to neighbor and manual labor. The corporal works of mercy were offered by the bishops as suitable manifestations of Christian love and asceticism. Yet, the individuals who devoted themselves to these services were still motivated to a great extent by the spirit of penance and a fear of the last judgment.

The prayer life of this period was still communal and liturgical. For all classes of Christians the spiritual life was nourished by the Mass, the Divine Office, homilies, the reading of Scripture, and the teachings and sermons of the Fathers of the Church. The Psalter was the basis even of private prayer and meditation, and the more difficult psalms were synthesized in a few verses and interspersed with prayers or "collects." Many of the hymns that are still preserved in the Divine Office were composed in this period, as were numerous litanies.

"In spite of what it lacked," says Dom Leclercq, "the period was a truly formative and fruitful one for the Christian West, and left a definite mark on later centuries."(59)

   1. For further details on western monasticism, see L. Bouyer, The Spirituality of the New Testament and the Fathers, tr. M. P. Ryan, Desclée, New York, N.Y., 1960; M. Wolter, The Principles of Monasticism, tr. B. R. Sause, B. Herder, St. Louis, Mo., 1962; R. Lorenz, "Die Anfänge des abendländischen Mönchtums, im 4 Jahrhundert," in Zeitschrift für Kirchengeschichte, 77, 1966.
   2. Eusebius, Historia ecdesiastica, 6, 43, 16.
   3. St. Jerome Epistola 127; cf. J. N. D. Kelly, Jerome, Harper & Row, New York, N.Y., 1975.
   4. Cf. A. Paredi, Ambrose: His Life and Times, University of Notre Dame Press, Notre Dame, Ind., 1964.
   5. Cf. J. Lienhard, Paulinus of Nola and Early Western Monasticism, Hanstein, Cologne, 1977.
   6. Cf. J. Fontaine, Vie de Saint Martin, Ed. du Cerf, Paris, 1967-1969; N. Chadwick, Poetry and Letters in Early Christian Gaul, Bowes & Bowes, London, 1955.
   7. Cf. O. Chadwick, John Cassian, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2 ed., 1968.
   8. Cassian enumerates eight capital sins, as did Evagrius. St. Gregory the Great substitutes envy for pride and combines sloth with sadness. There are seven capital sins according to common teaching: pride, sloth, covetousness, lust, anger, envy and gluttony.
   9. Conferences, 3, 6.
  10. Conferences, 9, 9-15.
  11. Ibid., 23, 3.
  12. Cf. Adversus Jovinianum, I, I.
  13. In the Latin Church clerical celibacy was not obligatory until the fourth century, when the Council of Elvira (Spain) imposed it on subdeacons, deacons and priests. The custom spread throughout the Church and eventually became a universal law for the Church in the West.
  14. Cf. I. Hausherr, "L'erreur fondamentale et la logique du messalianisme," in Orientalia Christiana periodica, I, 1935, pp. 356-36.
  15. Cf. E. Portalié, A Guide to the Thought of St. Augustine, tr. R. J. Bastian, Regnery, Chicago, Ill., 1960.
  16. De natura et gratia, 70, 84.
  17. De doctrina Christiana, 3, 10, 15-16.
  18. De perfecta justitia hominis, 3, 8.
  19. Sermo 170, 8; cf. Enarratio in Ps. 82, 10.
  20. De quantitate animae, 33, 70-76. In his commentary on the beatitudes and on Isa. I I:2, St. Augustine divides the stages according to the gifts of the Holy Spirit, beginning with fear of the Lord and terminating with wisdom.
  21. Enarratio in Ps. 41.
  22. Tractatus in Joann. , 124, 5.
  23. Cf. De consensu evangelistarum.
  24. Sermo 169.
  25. De civitate Dei, 19, 19.
  26. P. Pourrat, Christian Spirituality, tr. W. H. Mitchell and S. P. Jacques, Newman Press, Westminster, Md., 1953, Vol. I, p. 164.
  27. Cf. L. Bouyer, The Spirituality of the New Testament and the Fathers, tr. M. P. Ryan, Desclee, New York, N.Y., 1963, p. 495.
  28. Cf. ibid., pp. 498-499.
  29. Cf. L. Verheijen, La règle de Saint Augustine, Etudes Augustiniennes, 2 vols., 1967.
  30. In Ps. 132, 6.
  31. C. Peifer, "Pre-Benedictine Monasticism in the Western Church," in The Rule of St. Benedict, ed. T. Fry, Liturgical Press, Collegeville, Minn., 1981, p. 63.
  32. Cf. C. Peifer, art. cit., p. 64; R. Lorenz, art. cit., footnote 1 supra.
  33. Cf. F. Cabrol, Saint Benedict, Burns & Oates, London, 1934; J, McCann, Saint Benedict, Sheed & Ward, New York, N.Y., 1937; J. Chapman, Saint Benedict and the Sixth Century, Greenwood Press, Westport, Conn., 1972; T. F. Lindsay, St. Benedict: His Life and Work, Burns & Oates, London, 1949; I. Schuster, Saint Benedict and His Times, B. Herder, St. Louis, Mo., 1951; T. Maynard, Saint Benedict and His Monks, P. J. Kenedy New York, N.Y., 1954.
  34. C. Peifer, "The Rule of St. Benedict," in op.cit., p. 73.
  35. For discussion of relation between Rule of St. Benedict and Regula Magistri, cf. C. Peifer, art. cit., pp. 79-90.
  36. All quotations from the Rule of St. Benedict, ed. T. Fry, Liturgical Press, Collegeville, Minn., 1981.
  37. The Rule of St. Benedict, ed. T. Fry, pp. 191-201.
  38. Ibid, chapter 73.
  39. Cf. J. F. Kenney, The Sources for the Early History of Ireland, New York, N.Y., 1929; J. Ryan, Irish Monasticism: Origins and Early Development, Talbot Press, Dublin, 1931; L. Gougaud, Christianity in Celtic Lands, London, 1932.
  40. Cf. J. Wilson, Life of St. Columban, Burns & Oates, London, 1952; F. MacManus, Saint Columban, Sheed & Ward, New York, N.Y., 1952.
  41. Cf. F. Cayré, Manual of Patrology, tr. H. Howitt, Desclée, Paris, 1930, Vol. 2, p. 237.
  42. Cf. C. Peifer, art. cit., p. 78. However, L. Cilleruelo maintains that the members of St. Gregory's monastery were refugees from Monte Cassino after its destruction by the Lombards. Cf. "Literatura espiritual de la Edad Media," in B. J. Duque and L. S. Balust (ed.), Historia de la Espiritualidad, Juan Flors, Barcelona, 1969, Vol. I, p. 685.
  43. Cf. F. H. Dudden, Gregory the Great: His Place in History and Thought, Russell and Russell, New York, N.Y., 2 vols., 1967.
  44. Cf. J. Leclercq, F. Vanderlbroucke, L. Bouyer, The Spirituality of the Middle Ages, Burns & Oates, London, 1968.
  45. Cf. Moralia, 2, 76-77; 31, 87; 35, 15; In Ezech. , 1, 4, 8; 1, 7, 7; 2, 4, 4.
  46. Cf. G. C. Carluccio, The Seven Steps to Spiritual Perfection according to St. Gregory the Great, Ottawa, 1949.
  47. Hom. in Ezech., 2, 2, 8.
  48. Ibid., loc. cit.
  49. Moralia, 6, 61; Hom. in Ezech., 1, 3, 9.
  50. Moralia, 29.
  51. Cf. op. cit., 6, 56.
  52. Hom. to Ezech., 11, 11, 12.
  53. Op. cit., 2, 19, 20.
  54. Cf. Moralia, 31, 104; Hom. in Ezech., 9, 31; 2, 1, 16; 2, 10, 21.
  55. Cf. Hom. in Ezech., 2, 77; Moralia, 18, 81.
  56. Cf. J. Leclercq et al., op. cit., chapter 3.
  57. PL 94, 657-658.
  58. Cf. J. Leclercq et al., op. cit., pp. 57-60.
  59. Cf. ibid., p. 67.


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