978-0-06-062483-5 / 9780060624835

Essential Monastic Wisdom: Writings on the Contemplative Life





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About the book:

Essential Monastic Wisdom: Writings on the Contemplative Life, edited and translated by Hugh Feiss, is the Benedictine version of Bartlett's Familiar Quotations. Feiss assimilates a broad range of arcane material and makes it accessible to the general reader without rendering the tough parts of monasticism toothless. His book begins with a concise history of monasticism; then it provides hundreds of quotations describing three essential concerns of Benedictine life: "Ordering Time and Place," "Character," and "The Good Desired and Possessed." Concrete expressions of each concern are further organized into collections of quotations with headings such as "Hospitality," "Discernment," "Longing," and "Love," making Essential Monastic Wisdom an extremely useful resource for readers seeking inspiration and guidance in many essential aspects of spiritual life. In addition to the oft-heard voices in the monastic chorus--such as St. Anthony, Thomas Merton, and Hildegarde--this book introduces readers to a number of characters whose wisdom is more seldom heard. Among these are Amma Syncletica, a fifth-century nun who describes the suffering of women in childbirth, offering the still-valid observation that "towards women generally there is great hostility in the world"; and Peter of Celle, a 12th-century monk and biblical commentator who describes a room that contains nothing to read as "a hell without consolation ... a tomb without ventilation." --Michael Joseph Gross

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