Western Monastic Spirituality
Cassian, Caesarius of Arles, and Benedict
- ISBN: 9781531502164
- Published By: Fordham University Press
- Published: June 2022
Western Monastic Spirituality presents three authors as individuals, certainly, but also as textual informants who, like road markers, represent a line of the development of a Western monastic spiritual tradition. John Cassian (ca. 360–435) helped bring the wisdom of northern Egyptian ascetical life of the late fourth century to southern France in the early fifth century. Caesarius of Arles (468/470–542), drawing on his own monastic experience and Augustine’s monastic rule, composed a rule for a women’s monastery in the city of Arles. Not many years later, Benedict wrote the most influential rule in Western monasticism, one that still regulates the lives of monks today all over the world. These three texts, when looked at serially and together, offer a theology of monastic spirituality, an example of a relatively short but comprehensive early monastic rule, and a present-day Benedictine interpretation of how Benedict’s monastic spirituality can be summed up in a short present-day digest of his rule. Reflection on early Western monasticism retrieves some basic Christian spiritual values that should inform life today outside the monastery in a busy, secular culture.