Monastic spirituality has much to offer Christians who live far beyond monastery walls. In Saint Benedict's Wisdom Luigi Gioia, OSB, demonstrates that monastic spirituality is a gift for the whole Church. Because monastic vows are fundamentally a deep dive into one's baptismal commitments, monastic experience speaks to all the faithful who wish to do the same within different lifestyles. As an expression of divine wisdom, monasticism offers a way of deeply integrating spirituality with the rest of life, teaching us to seek holiness, not only in prayer, but also through work, sharing of food, sleep, and life in community.
Written by one of the most insightful commentators on monastic life today, Saint Benedict's Wisdom shines the light of monasticism on many aspects of contemporary Christian living, including evangelization, leadership, suffering, authentic chastity, the experience of God, reform of structures, and the practice of theology. It will appeal to anyone seeking to live a more authentic Christian life in addition to vowed monastics, monastic oblates, and associates.
Luigi Gioia, OSB, was a professor of systematic theology at the Pontifical University of Sant'Anselmo in Rome for many years and now is a research associate at the Von Hügel Institute for Critical Catholic Inquiry at Cambridge University. In great demand as a retreat leader all over the world, he is the author of several books, including Say It to God: In Search of Prayer (the Archbishop of Canterbury's Lent Book 2018) and Touched by God: The Way to Contemplative Prayer.
"This discussion of the Rule of Saint Benedict is more than the stringing together of a series of pious paraphrases that are already familiar to the reader. It engages with the Rule by serious excavation of its scriptural foundations and also by setting it in conversation with the issues and difficulties of the contemporary world, both within the Church and within postmodern society. The resulting conclusions are profound and stimulating, and accessible to the ordinary reader."
Michael Casey, OCSO
“A really outstanding guide, not just to the world of Benedictine life but to being a Christian disciple in community. This is a book of profound human intelligence, insight, and challenge.”
“Gioia's forthright overview of monastic spirituality and its contemporary issues challenges all monastics to be a prophetic voice in the church and the world."
Judith Sutera, OSB Mount St. Scholastica, Kansas
“At a time when all our forms of institutional belonging are being shaken up, my friend Luigi Gioia does a wonderful job at showing how St. Benedict’s wisdom is both centered and flexible, making it available for us as we feel out the new wine skins into which the Gospel is pouring us.”
James Alison, Catholic theologian, priest, and author of Knowing Jesus
"In Saint Benedict's Wisdom Luigi Gioia constructively lays out a Benedictine spirituality for the twenty-first century. Weaving together a rich tapestry of insights and experiences from his years as a monk and scholar, Gioia demonstrates anew that the wisdom of the Rule of Benedict remains relevant, not only for the monk, but for the church and even for the world. He shows that the Rule's catholicity gives it a vantage point from which it offers guidance to all of humanity in how to live and love well. Gioia not only confirms the Rule of Benedict's place among the Christian tradition's sapiential literature, but Saint Benedict's Wisdom itself is a product of wisdom, from the hand of one sufficiently wise to offer it."
Rev. Greg Peters, PhD, SMD
"An inviting, accessible, and above all wise investigation into what the Rule of St. Benedict, that treasure house of Christian spirituality, can teach us about wisdom. This subtle book is meant not simply for the monk or even the Benedictine aficionado but all Christians seeking the path to Wisdom, which is to say to God."
James Martin, SJ, author of In All Seasons, For All Reasons: Praying Throughout the Year
“Luigi Gioia's meditations on the Rule of St. Benedict not only encapsulate and distill his long experience of the monastic life, but offer this wisdom, with striking theological profundity, to a wider reading public. Steeped in Scripture and tradition, but no less animated by modern psychological insight, this little book is an unusual spiritual gem that will stand the test of time.”
Sarah Coakley, Norris-Hulse Professor of Divinity Emerita, University of Cambridge