The New Benedictine Community   (Ancient Tradition-Contemporary Expression)

  The New Benedictine CommunityAncient Tradition-Contemporary Expression

In the Name of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit; 

the One who creates, the One who redeems, 

and the One who brings to fulfillment.  

God: three and one. Amen.

The New Benedictine Community

“We intend to establish a school for the Lord’s service.” _____
Vision 

Following in the footsteps of those who have gone before us, we will strive to be faithful followers of Jesus Christ in solidarity with the generations of men and women who have gathered in his name, especially our holy father Benedict whose Rule of Life we embrace as a guide for our journey of faith. We do this, filled with prayerful reverence and in community with one another, in the hopes that our lives will serve in whatever way God wishes and wills.

Rather than slavishly recreating the institutions and aesthetics of the past, we choose to be a community that gives flesh to the vision of our fore-bearers in the Benedictine tradition in a new way and yet one that is faithful to the spirit of Benedict’s Rule. We will strive to live this vision, bringing forth the best of all that has gone before us, in a manner that is fitting for this place and this time.  

Our path is simple and yet mastering it will take a lifetime. In her book, Wisdom Distilled from the Daily, Joan Chittister, OSB writes: “The Rule of Benedict says, ‘Take care of everything, revere one another, eat and drink moderately, pray where you work, think deeply about life every day, read, sleep well, don’t demand the best of everything, pray daily, and live in community.’ (RB 4) Be sure that one part of your life is not warring against the other.” (“Wisdom”, p. 78) 

In keeping with Benedict’s foundational insistence on radical hospitality, we choose to welcome all as Christ without exception. This also requires that we remain open to new ideas and expressions of all kinds: religious, political, social, artistic, intellectual, and cultural because the whisper of God may be present there too, leading us into a new way of experiencing and expressing the Reign of God in our midst.

For those of us who are called to this way of life, these words set our hearts on fire and there is nothing for us to do but respond with our whole being.  

We invite you to join us on this quest for God in community.

The New Benedictine Community

“LISTEN, my child….” (RB 1)
Values 

Because of our deep conviction that Benedict speaks wisdom to us today, we choose to be a community that lives into his values of:

Prayer

Contemplation- Beyond all our words and ideas, we seek a deeper form of prayer that transcends any particular method and leads to a place of quiet union in and with God.

Silence- “Not an absence of noise, but an absence of self.”

Intercessory Prayer- This is the particular ministry of the monastic: to pray for the world. Through it we act as a leaven for the whole planet as we, together await the fullness or completion for which God created us.

Community

Relationship- This is our greatest treasure in Christ and how we fully express our oneness in the Body of Christ.

Work- We are co-creators with God in Christ. Our labor is offered as a gift to God and to our communities because we are called to be active participants in the work of the Reign of God, no matter how humble that work is or how small (or big) that community is.

Play- Too often forgotten in our society, the point of play is to play. It is perhaps the best way to discover the joy of being in all its simplicity. This is true rest and recreation.

Service- Even in Benedict’s monastery every person was expected to offer some sort of service to the community, whether in works and labor or by being the servant at table or in the abbot’s office or through sharing the wisdom acquired during years of faithfulness or in allowing others to tend to our frailties. Monks always serve someone and in that service, they serve God.

Presence- “Being with” people rather than “doing for” them is perhaps the greatest service we can offer anyone. In our simple acts of solidarity with others, we honor their dignity and ours. 

Leadership- The Office of Prior (Servant of the Community) – Benedict refers to the leader of the community as the presence of Christ in the community. This has sometimes been misunderstood and that has been the cause of significant abuse of power. But, if we look at who Christ was and is for others, we see that he always acts as a healer, a teacher, a guide, a servant, a witness to the Reign of God, one who feeds, who points to God, and who calls forth the best in others. This is what real leadership does.

Study

Growth- The act of learning something new expands our entire being in some way each time it happens. Growth is the response to new stimuli, unless we block it out. Our goal is to keep growing until the moment that we surrender our lives to God.

Wonder and Awe- “When I see the heavens, the work of your hands, who are we that you should keep us in mind? That sort of a reaction could come about from almost any moment of awareness. This is awe and wonder. This is a blessing.

Lectio Divina/Sacred Reading- Allowing the words of scripture to become as deep within ourselves as our own breath and then living into this vision as we move back out into our life together.

Hospitality 

Surprise- You never know what God has in mind for God’s people and in order to receive that, it is necessary to remain open.

Inclusive- All people are called into this dance with God regardless of who they are and what their circumstances are.

Ecumenical- God most likely cares a great deal less about our differences than we do. Because of that, we choose not to make any denominational distinctions within our community, thus witnessing to the unity within diversity that God celebrates in the cosmos.

Humility

Simple- “Make them see how simple it is.” Things that are beautiful and true move in the direction of simplicity rather than complexity.

Practical- Rather than esoteric consideration of spiritual matters, we seek to walk a path that teaches us how to live life in the here and now, and to do that well.

Realistic- Sometimes our ego tells us that we are more than we really are and sometimes it tells us that we are less. Either way, it’s all about us. Realism accepts what is and gets on with life. 

Conversion of Life

Faith- This is all about what we believe in or rather, what we give our hearts to. When we do that, our lives change.

Ongoing Growth- Living things grow and they change constantly. Our faith life must grow and change if it is to be a dynamic living thing.

Change- Non-attachment to what is for the sake of what might be.

Stability

Intentional- “Mindful living in the presence of God.” (Br. Francis, OSB- Saint Meinrad’s Archabbey)

Contemporary- We’re not looking to recreate the 13th century but to discover what Benedict might do in this century and culture.

Grounded- Our forward movement is soundly rooted in the faith of the church and the wisdom of the Benedictine tradition.

Obedience 

Trust- Trust in ourselves, in others, in our “way” and in the God who has led us throughout our lives.

Compassion- The compassion that forgives our leaders for being human, the compassion that allows us to remain faithful even when we cannot see the road ahead, the compassion to love what looks like a dead end sometimes.

Wisdom- Knowing that there is always more than what we see and know in this moment as well as recognizing patterns in ourselves and in our communities.

Balance

“Living life well, both alone and with others…totally immersed in God” (Joan Chittister, OSB)

Absolute Faith in the Goodness of God

Ultimately this is all we really know: God is good. Everything else is simply an elaboration of this fact. Our lives witness to this unshakable belief or they do not.

Prophetic witness- We call ourselves and others into a remembering of what is true and good and worthy through our lives of commitment to this vision and this way of life…no matter the cost.

The New Benedictine Community

“Always we begin again…” (______)
Tradition and New Monasticism 
Tradition as the unpacking of what is contained in the scriptures within a

The New Benedictine Community

“Place your hope in God alone.” ______
Resources 

The New Benedictine Community

Who We Are 
Peter Pearson- In January of 2012 the New Benedictine Community was created by Peter, along with several companions, in response to an enduring and deep calling to live a life more fully Benedictine after years in which his life has taken him on a path exposing him to monasticism in a variety of forms.  He lived the first four years of his training for priesthood in a seminary community based upon the Rule of Benedict. There he experienced firsthand the main themes of the Rule and learned about some of the other monastic experiments that were emerging in the 1970’s such as the Community at Taize, the Bose Monastery in Italy, the Jerusalem Community in Paris, and New Skete in Up-State New York. In 1991 he entered the novitiate at Saint Vincent Archabbey in Latrobe, PA and took vows a year later. After being received as a priest in the Episcopal Church, he joined the Community of Solitude, an ecumenical monastic community inspired by the Camaldolese Benedictines. He envisions a way of being Benedictine that could be both contemporary as well as faithful to tradition.  

The New Benedictine Community

“Let every guest be received as Christ.” _____
Invitation 

So, if what we have presented here has made your heart dance, 

if you long to live your ordinary life in an extraordinary way, 

if you would like to take part in this grand experiment,

if you want to explore entering this school for the Lord’s service, 

if you are from another community and you would like to discuss ways in which we might support one another and perhaps journey together, or 

if you simply want to know more…..

Prior Peter Pearson OSB

(Prior of the NBC)

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