Strangers to the City: Reflections on the Beliefs and Values of the Rule of Saint Benedict

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Overview

Michael Casey, a monk and scholar who has been publishing his wise teachings on the Rule of St. Benedict for decades, turns to the particular Benedictine values that he considers most urgent for Christians to incorporate into their lives today.

Eloquent and incisive, Casey invites readers to accept that gospel living - seen in the light of the Rule - involves accepting the challenge of being different from the secular culture around us. He ...
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Strangers to the City: Reflections on the Beliefs and Values of the Rule of St. Benedict

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Overview

Michael Casey, a monk and scholar who has been publishing his wise teachings on the Rule of St. Benedict for decades, turns to the particular Benedictine values that he considers most urgent for Christians to incorporate into their lives today.

Eloquent and incisive, Casey invites readers to accept that gospel living - seen in the light of the Rule - involves accepting the challenge of being different from the secular culture around us. He encourages readers to set clear goals and objectives, to be honest about the practical ways in which priorities may have to change to meet these goals, and to have the courage to implement these changes both daily and for the future.

Casey presents thoughtful reflections on the beliefs and values of asceticism, silence, leisure, reading, chastity, and poverty - putting these traditional Benedictine values into the context of modern life and the spiritual aspirations of people today. Strangers to the City is a book for all who are interested in learning more about the dynamics of spiritual growth from the monastic experience.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In a disappointing volume, Cistercian monk Casey, author of A Guide to Living in the Truth, describes 13 attributes of the Rule of St. Benedict. This is not feel-good spirituality; Casey courageously calls his readers to hard disciplines like asceticism and self-denial, and much of his vision for the good life is countercultural. He disdains TV, questions the material luxuries that bourgeois Westerners take for granted and gently mocks those who "would prefer to lose a limb than to have any restriction placed on their automobile use." At times, his descriptions of Benedictine virtues-an abandonment of "self-will," for example-sound almost Buddhist. That quality might attract a large, ecumenical readership, were the book not marred by a certain abstractness. It would be more helpful if Casey had clarified how ordinary laypersons could apply Benedictine wisdom to their lives. What might the "community life... shaped by mutual obedience," which Casey finds in monasticism, look like for families or single laypeople? There is also an unfortunate, almost academic, passivity in the prose that distances the reader from the text: "Just as mutuality is not to be equated with equality, so generativity exists in more than one mode." Esther De Waal's Seeking God and Living with Contradiction remain better introductions to Benedictine spirituality. (Sept.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
In this book of descriptive spirituality, Casey, a Cistercian monk from Australia, explores the Rule of St. Benedict, examining the virtues and values contained in the Rule that can serve as tools to carve out a life of Christian discipleship. The Benedictine Rule enables the monk to chip away at self-absorption and self-deception and to chisel oneself, at least in rough outline, into the image of the Christ. Such chipping and chiseling is a lifelong task of self-transformation, which, the monk discovers, is ultimately not his own work but the work of God. Casey maintains that in this work of transformation one becomes, to use Benedict's phrase, "a stranger to the city": the values of the city, the goals of the city, and the claims of the city are alien to the monk and, ultimately, to God's transforming work. Casey proposes that the transforming work of the monk must also be the transforming work of the ordinary Christian, whose call to holiness is no less real or arduous. Casey is a very good writer, and he makes the notion of monasticism something that can resonate with the common expeience of us all as we try to make some sense of ourselves and our lives. Suitable for libraries of churches, retreat centers, and religiously affiliated schools.-David I. Fulton, Coll. of Saint Elizabeth, Morristown, NJ Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781612613970
  • Publisher: Paraclete Press
  • Publication date: 9/1/2013
  • Series: Voices from the Monastery
  • Edition description: New Edition, 2013
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 391,612
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author


Michael Casey is a Cisterian monk of Tarrawarra Abbey in Australia. He is a well-known and frequent retreat master and lecturer on monastic spirituality all over the world.
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 21, 2013

    Just Plain Great

    Grab you unabridged dictionary and enjoy the ride! Brother Casey does a wonderful job describing the community practices he has engaged in as a Cistercian Monk for over 40 years, and in the process does us the unwitting service of expanding our vocabulary. The assertion of the book is that the wisdom of the practices of the monastery have much to say to us today in many walks of life; church, home, work, family and friend circles etc.. Though the book blurb made it sound like practical application would be handed out on a silver platter I found that it took a little more reflection. In the reflection, though, I found myself returning to thoughts from this book over and over and over again in the midst of many different conversations.

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