Commentary on the Holy Rule of Saint Benedict
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Among the giants of the Benedictine Order in modern times, Cardinal Alfredo Ildefonso Schuster stands out as a scholar, churchman, and saint—one who deeply researched monasticism and liturgy, and, in spite of being elevated to the archbishopric of Milan, kept the heart of a monk whose childlike faith, ascetical self-denial, and all-embracing charity were recognized in his beatification. Schuster’s commentary on the Holy Rule of St Benedict of Nursia (first published in Italian at the end of World War II and now available in English for the first time) ranges from erudite discussion of monastic and liturgical history to eloquent lessons in spiritual doctrine, and is sprinkled with homely anecdotes and practical advice from a veteran of the monastic life who knew many of the outstanding figures of the great nineteenth-century Benedictine revival. His expert knowledge of patristic, canonical, and papal sources illuminates many otherwise obscure lines of the Rule, bringing its subtle genius into sharp relief. Amidst all the details of ancient, medieval, and modern history that fill the work, Schuster never loses sight of the Rule’s fundamental goal: through charity, to bring souls seeking God to the heavenly fatherland of divine union. In addition to the commentary, the present edition contains the Latin text of the Rule, accompanied by a fresh and quite literal English translation that seeks to convey its “feel”—unpolished, at times abrupt, yet radiant with peaceful confidence.