A ninth-century monk of Saint Mihiel near Verdun, Smaragdus composed his Commentary after the 816 Council of Aachen imposed the Rule of Saint Benedict on all monasteries in the vast Carolingian Empire. His deep devotion to Christ and great reverence for Saint Benedict led him to encourage monastics to update the observance of the Rule to meet the needs of a society, period of history, and monks very different from those Benedict had known. He reminds readers today as well as then that monastic life is organized for the goal of attaining union with God by following Christ.
David Barry OSB made solemn profession at the Abbey of the Holy Trinity, New Norcia, Western Australia in 1960. He has studied at Sant'Anselmo, Rome, and Saint Benet's Hall, Oxford, as well as at Murdoch University. In addition to doing parish work, teaching, working in monastic formation, and giving spiritual direction and retreats in Australia, he has also taught in China and done archival research in Europe on his monastery’s founders.