Read Seeking God: The Way of St. Benedict by Esther de Waal Online


Bestseller!For over fifteen hundred years St. Benedict's Rule has been a source of guidance, support, inspiration, challenge, comfort and discomfort for men and women. It has helped both those living under monastic vows and those living outside the cloister in all the mess and muddle of ordinary, busy lives in the world. Esther de Waal's Seeking God serves as an introductiBestseller!For over fifteen hundred years St. Benedict's Rule has been a source of guidance, support, inspiration, challenge, comfort and discomfort for men and women. It has helped both those living under monastic vows and those living outside the cloister in all the mess and muddle of ordinary, busy lives in the world. Esther de Waal's Seeking God serves as an introduction to this life-giving way and encourages people to discover for themselves the gift that St. Benedict can bring to individuals, to the Church, and to the world, now and in the years to come.Through this definitive classic Esther de Waal has become known as an authority for the lay person on the Rule of St. Benedict. Her ability to communicate clearly the principal values of the Rule when applied to lay people is the ultimate strength of this book. She follows each chapter with a page or two of thoughts and prayers, contributing to its meditative quality.Esther de Waal is an Anglican lay woman, married with four sons and a number of grandchildren. She lives on the Welsh Borders where she grew up and spends her time gardening, writing, traveling, and taking retreats. She became interested in Benedictine monasticism as a result of living for ten years in Canterbury and has written several books on the Rule of St. Benedict including a life-Giving Way, published by The Liturgical Press, 1995. She holds a PhD. from Cambridge and was given an honorary doctorate from St. John's University for her contribution to Benedictine studies and for her ecumenical work. She was awarded the Templeton Prize for having started the Benedictine Experience weeks which are now widely held throughout America and England....

Title : Seeking God: The Way of St. Benedict
Author :
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ISBN : 9780814613887
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 168 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Seeking God: The Way of St. Benedict Reviews

  • Elizabeth
    2019-05-24 06:17

    As I write this, I am about 2/3 of the way through -- I read a few pages as part of my "quiet time" in the mornings. This was one of the books our Rector recommended during the Lenten study, and a friend urged me to read it too. It is a companion to St. Benedict’s “Rule” which I found on the Internet. Since St. Benedict was writing directly for his fellow monks, our rector suggested that as we read The Rule, to think of the monastery as the church and the monks as Christians. In that way, The Rule really applies to us all. This book can be read even without reading The Rule because it quotes liberally, but I enjoyed having them both side-by-side.As with all the books that mean most to me spiritually, this one addresses real, everyday living and walking with God wherever you are—not running off to seek Him in far-away places. The simplicity is powerful.Even our most ordinary manual labor “is to be a constant reminder of the reality of the Incarnation.” “God does not demand the unusual, spectacular, the heroic…[He demands only:] that I do the most ordinary, often dreary and humdrum things…with a loving openness that will allow them to become my own immediate way to God.”

  • Diane Bruce
    2019-05-11 14:09

    One of the books that I love!

  • Harry Allagree
    2019-04-30 11:24

    Having read this refreshing summary of the essence of Benedict's Rule sometime in the late 1980's, it was even more rewarding to come back and reread it again. It also reminded me of a serendipitous visit I had with Esther de Waal in February 1991, not long after I'd read it. We spent part of a sunny afternoon sitting & conversing on the lawn in back of the Guesthouse at the Abbey of New Clairvaux in Vina, CA. She was in the process of writing "A Seven Day Journey with Thomas Merton", a sort of personal retreat guide, which was published the next year. She was quite amazed at the time that an evangelical publisher (Servant Publications) was interested in her writing a book on Merton!Reading the book again reminded me of how well Benedict's Rule expresses what genuine human life and, specifically, Christian religion is really all about: keeping God ever before one's eyes and striving to be a loving person. de Waal traces, in ten short chapters, how the principles which Benedict wrote to guide a 6th century monastic community of men are still valid today. She speaks with the great wisdom & experience of her own rich life. At the end of each chapter she includes short quotes, poems, wise sayings, etc. on the particular chapter theme, and at the end of the book, several pages of suggestions for further reading.A quote at the end, from Dom Dominic Gaisford's "A Touch of God", sums up a lot of what Esther de Waal so simply & wonderfully writes about: "I think, Lord, that what you give me and everyone in prayer is a new vision, or a new dimension. The people I am fond of and love, the things I like doing, the places I like, are in some tangible way different, added to, increased by you...The people and places and activities which I love and like become different in you...Lord, I may be being heretical or untheological, but I don't mind and you know what I mean, when I say that your abiding presence -- yes, that's it Lord, prayer is your abiding presence made real."

  • Tim Chesterton
    2019-04-27 10:11

    Brilliant little book distilling the wisdom of the Rule of St. Benedict and unpacking it for the benefit of ordinary Christians who don't live in monasteries. Each chapter takes a different theme ('Listening', 'Stability', 'Material Things', 'Prayer' etc.), exploring what the Rule and the Benedictine tradition have to say, and making connections with non-monastic life.I read this book through once very quickly, and now plan to read it again much more slowly, thinking and praying over the insights it offers. I highly recommend it.

  • Daniel
    2019-04-26 11:37

    I could say so much about this deeply moving and profound book. I hope this quote sums it up - "The goal of my changing life is not self-fulfillment, even though so much of the personal growth movement popular today seems to suggest that that is so. St Benedict is quite ruthless about the sort of self-fulfillment which is self-seeking. My goal is Christ."

  • Barbara von der Osten
    2019-05-02 10:28

    This small book shows that the wisdom of St. Benedict is for everyone, even in modern times. She includes chapters entitled Listening, Stability, Change, Balance, Material Things, People, Authority and Praying. At the end of each chapter she provides Thoughts and Prayers to contemplate. Definitely a book to reread several times.

  • Margaretflynn
    2019-04-27 13:25

    A companion and therefore, a keeper.

  • Suzanne
    2019-05-25 07:25

    Having recently begun to work at a Benedictine institution, I began reading Esther de Waal's book in hopes of finding a more approachable means of studying Benedictine life than a simple reading of the Rule, which can be rather dry. She is a layperson, an Anglican who has chosen to live the Rule. Her perspective, that of an intelligent woman, wife and mother, illuminates the Rule of Benedict and makes parallels to lay living in a way that a simple reading of the Rule does not. An example would be the discussion of obedience, one of three Benedictine vows and one that for me, as I imagine for others brought up in a society that greatly values independence, has been a challenge in my spiritual life. De Waal notes that obedience (oboedire, to obey) comes from the same root word as hearing (audire, to hear). Listening is a skill I value; I am open to that. Moving beyond that requires an understanding of the demands and responsibilities that come with leadership, and respect for those willing to accept those demands and responsibilities. In Benedictine life, members of the community are free to choose their own leader, then must accord them respect and obedience. Wouldn't our society be an interesting one if we observed same civility toward our freely elected leaders?The greatest obedience, of course, is to the will of God, which requires a lifetime of listening. The author cites a recent Benedictine discussion of obedience that says God does not ask us for blind obedience. Our critical faculties are given to us to be used constructively. "We are given building blocks and have to see what can be done with them, using in the task all our intelligence, sensitivity and love." To paraphrase Benedict, obedience will help me to discover and experience how great is the freedom to which I am called - freedom to do that which I really want, in the depths of my heart: what God has willed for me.There is, of course, much more to de Waal's work; this is just one of seven areas upon which I have chosen to reflect. If you are seeking to live the Gospel and are up for a modern perspective on a 1,500-year-old tradition, de Waal's book will give you much food for thought.

  • Phil
    2019-04-29 13:37

    This is one of my perennial re-reads, but I'm reviewing it anyway. If I had done that meme from a month or two ago that asked for the ten books which have stayed with me, this would be on the list. It is the the book which first exposed me to Benedictine spirituality which has become quite an important aspect of my spiritual life. The irony, of course, is that I've never gone on retreat to a Benedictine community, but I find so much to apply to my daily life that it doesn't seem to matter which is really De Waal's point in this book. De Waal attempts to de-mystify the Benedictine way of prayer, work and study in such a way as to encourage those of us who are not monastics to apply the insights of the Rule of St. Benedict to our life. Given that very few people are able to follow, say, a monastic daily schedule, that means that flexibility is needed. De Waal does a brilliant job setting out the ethos of the Benedictine life through the its values: stability, obedience and openness to conversion. The applicability of these three values are challenging, but it does change how one approaches life. I, certainly, know that it has influenced my teaching and the way that I approach family life. It is helpful to be moderately familiar with the Rule of Benedict, but not necessarily crucial. De Waal quotes liberally from the Rule, so it is almost like reading it. Definitely a must-read, especially for those interested in applying one's spirituality to everyday life.

  • Jim Gallen
    2019-05-05 14:25

    “Seeking God” is author Esther de Wall’s reflections on the Rule of St. Benedict and its application to the lives of lay people often comparing and contrasting with that of monks. Its 10 chapters focus on the life of St. Benedict, the invitation to make God the center of our lives, the value of listening, stability, the role of change in our lives, the maintenance of balance, the place of material things, our interaction with other people, submission to authority and prayer. Each chapter concludes with related thoughts and prayers.This book is neither dense nor superficial. It draws the reader in to examine his own life, attitudes and practices. Its persistent theme is to make God the center and motivation of everything we do. It opened the idea of stability as not just adherence to a place, but to a code of values and Person. I was impressed with the argument that our spiritual and worldly senses should be woven into each other, not isolated into separate phases of our lives. I was surprised to find the Benedictine theme of finding God in all things and situations, an outlook I had associated with Ignatian spirituality. I found this book to help direct my thoughts on my daily relationship with God. I anticipate that it will deepen my next reading of the Rule. I recommend as a valuable aid it for all God Seekers.

  • Evan Hays
    2019-05-24 13:37

    I love Esther deWaal's work. I want to read everything she has written because she does such a good job of getting to the heart of ancient Christian thinking and practice and making it accessible to our world today. She has a love for the theology, history, and every day life of the people she describes.I read this one while I was reading the Rule of St. Benedict, and it very much helped inform my reading. It is a nice short work that breaks the Rule down into important themes. Her references to other related primary and secondary words are very helpful, and her prayers at the end of each chapter make this really a devotional read.I highly recommend this work and anything else deWaal has done.

  • Ed Wojniak
    2019-05-13 08:24

    A very good book for those who are looking for a concise, organized presentation of the essential elements of the Rule of St. Benedict. Honestly, it made the Rule seem more attractive to me than my read of the Rule itself. So, through this reading the Rule becomes an appeal to listening, stability, an appreciation of change and balance, a better understanding of the presence of God in material things, people and authority, while enlivening for me the sometimes stale act of prayer.

  • Adam Shaeffer
    2019-04-29 14:25

    I loved this little book.I could gush for pages (and in fact I already have for a class assignment), but I won't. Suffice to say that this brief book was truly moving and reminded me that if I can't find God right here and right now, I won't find Him anywhere. May my heart strings vibrate their "YES!" to the making one.

  • Andrew Marr
    2019-05-19 11:30

    Esther de Waal pioneered what has become a significant movement in spirituality: to apply the Rule of Benedict for non-monastics. The beautiful meditative style of Esther's writing is conducive to this purpose as is the author's wisdom. Writing as a Benedictine monk myself, I commend de Waal's insight into the Rule.

  • Cindy Z
    2019-05-26 06:09

    My favorite quote from this book...So the scriptures are mouthed with the lips, understood by the intelligence, fixed by the memory, and finally the will comes into play and what has been read is also put into practice. The act of reading makes the reader become a different person; reading cannot be separated from living. (page 148)

  • Michelle
    2019-04-26 11:13

    De Waal's interpretation of the Rule yields accessibility not adaptability. She doesn't pander and she doesn't summarize, she merely measuredly expounds: The key to understanding and applying St. Benedict's rule is found within the rule itself. She doesn't offer a quick fix; she adheres to St. Benedict's vision that there is no short cut to the rule and for that I love this book.

  • Candace Simar
    2019-05-02 10:25

    This is a great book, one that i read slowly and thoughtfully. I love the balance and sensibility of Benedictine spirituality, and this book did not disappoint. I'd recommend it to anyone hoping to deepen their sense of God in a troubled world.

  • Ike
    2019-05-17 11:30

    A wonderful little book that turns the Rule of St. Benedict into 10 overarching principles that can be followed by those individuals not called to a monastic life. But she avoids creating rules for us to follow and instead shows us a way of living.

  • Shelley
    2019-05-02 07:21

    Absolutely fascinating! If you do pick up this book (if, in fact, anyone reads this review) the chapters on Stability and People are the best and must be read. In my case, they were read and re-read.

  • Emilie
    2019-04-30 11:14

    A very good book to meditate over; with themes like Stability, Change, Balance; a very good contextualization/comment on St. Benedict’s Rules. I only wish there were more practical examples, but even then, it’s very good.

  • Charles Bell
    2019-05-22 09:25

    Well written and short enough to read in 2 or 3 days. It took that long because I kept pausing to think about what was said. I will go back and reread because it is like eating a rich steak. It is to be savored.

  • Girl With A Book
    2019-04-28 12:27

    Perfect companion piece to Kathleen Norris "Quotidian Mysteries""written as monks guide on how to live the Gospel in Community"Although I've read it before, I'm taking it off the shelf to ingest.

  • Ramona Stone
    2019-05-25 14:33

    Would give it more stars if I could. I loved this book. My husband has read this book like 12 times.

  • Sunnycame
    2019-05-13 13:38


  • Joseph
    2019-05-22 10:10

    Twice I have read this volume. It brings the richness of the Benedictine monastic experience to the hubbub of now. It reminds us that it is possible.

  • Debbie
    2019-05-02 11:26

    another book to be read and re-read. more to be gleaned from it each time.

  • Andrea
    2019-05-02 13:26

    Beautiful companion to the Rule of St. Benedict, and how to apply the principles to everyday living.

  • Marianna
    2019-05-15 10:18

    An explanation of The Rule of St Benedict with special emphasis on applying to daily life.

  • Heather Tomlinson
    2019-05-06 06:29

    This is a modern commentary on the Rule of Benedict. It's interesting and accessible, though I couldn't always relate to it.

  • David Kirkpatrick
    2019-05-07 14:33

    Authentic reflections on St Benedict from an active woman. Helpful for daily spiritual reading.