Spirituality: An Art of Living was born out of a generous impulse: to pass on lessons from the monastic tradition to lay people so as to help them achieve a more ardent and fulfilling spiritual life. In this book, Benedictine monk, teacher, and scholar Benoît Standaert provides ninety-nine entries covering topics like abba, humility, listening and time. The entries are divided in twenty-six chapters according to the letters of the alphabet. A perfect book for all spiritual seekers to sit with and enjoy again and again.
Benoît Standaert is a Benedictine monk of Saint Andrew's Abbey in Bruges, Belgium. He teaches Scripture, spirituality, and interreligious dialogue. After completing a doctorate at the University of Nijmegen on the composition and literary genre of the Gospel of Mark, he published numerous works on Scripture and spirituality in Dutch, several of which have been translated into French, English, and Italian. He is also the author of Sharing Sacred Space: Interreligious Dialogue as Spiritual Encounter (Liturgical Press, 2009).
"Reading Benoît Standaert's new book Spirituality is like having coffee with the prophet Isaiah. This longtime monk's ?alphabet of spiritual practices,' as the subtitle has it, welcomes us to the table with saints, desert fathers, ancient rabbis, Zen masters, and Hindu wise men. I have not been so delighted with a conversation in years, nor learned so much from a single book. Highly recommended."
Paula Huston, author of One Ordinary Sunday: A Meditation on the Mystery of the Mass
"This book is a spiritual gem. Written in the tradition of the Desert Father's transformation into God, Fr. Standaert uses each letter of the alphabet to designate spiritual practices to guide us in the art of living. What is more needed in our society today than such an art? As we make our way through this alphabet from Abba to Zero we find ourselves entering a world created from the wisdom of many ancient and modern traditions. We learn that each letter interacts with the one next to it just as monastics do in community. This type of interaction of word and person is true lectio divina and awakens the heart or core of our being where we find silence as the language of heaven."
Abbot Brendan Freeman, OCSO, author of Come and See: A Guide to Monastic Living
"The reflections vary in personal application, but definitely build upon St. Benedict's Rule and monastic life. They have given me inspiration to try to dig deeper into Benedictine monasticism."
Jason Paul Engel
"Standaert's book reflects years of lectio divina, meditation on the Scripture and human life. I found in it rich food for my own reflection and recommend it as spiritual reading for an serious reader."
Spirit & Life
"Well-written and organized. Solid and lucidly expressed wisdom."
Catholic Press Association
"If you've even wanted to sit down and pick the mind of a monk—a man or woman steeped in the church's monastic tradition stretching back to the desert fathers and mothers—then this book is for you. What a grace to have such a helpful accompaniment in that journey."
"Like the ancient desert monastics whose wisdom tradition is `a stream that surrounds him on all sides,' Benoît Standaert is a teacher worthy of the spiritual seeker who asks, `Give me a word.' Each word in his alphabet connotes a world of meaning. There is rich food for the mind and the soul in these pages."
Rev. Rachel M. Srubas, OblSB, author of City of Prayer: Forty Days with Desert Christians and The Girl Got Up: A Cruciform Memoir
"Standaert's work occupies a unique place seeking to weave a fabric of monastic practice, that invites the reader to move back and forth between the practices and assumptions that originated in the Scetis Desert and that far flung monasteries have been elaborating over the centuries. This warmth of this work, the accessibility of his language, and the wise simplicity of his approach offers the opportunity to find wisdom in the age of information."
Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary
"Standaert provides wonderful stories I have never heard of. It is quite obvious that he has read very widely and remembered what he has read. I found this book ideal for spiritual reading, especially in the early morning."
Terrence G. Kardong, OSB, American Benedictine Review