SUGGESTION: Put on your thinking cap for this sort of resource

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Posted: Sun, May 31 2020 8:03 PM

Yes, I know that I can take care of myself by putting this into a note or a PBB. But I would rather do something that helps others as well.

Imagine that I was doing work on St. Peter Damian who wrote a biography St. Romuald, the founder of the Camaldolese order ... which led me to wonder how his rule modified the basic Benedictine Rule ... which led me to:

Camaldolese - Camaldolese Spirituality:


Here is the hundred-word Latin text of this bright gem of eremitical spirituality, recorded about 1006 twenty years before Romuald ’ s death by Saint Bruno of Querfurt in his Life of the Five Brothers. It was as reported to him by one of those martyrs named John, who, like Bruno, knew Romuald well.

Et hanc brevem regulam a magistro Romualdo accepit, quam custodire in vita ipse multum sollicitus fuit:

1. Sede in cella quasi in paradiso;

2. proice post tergum de memoria totum mundum,

3. cautus ad cogitationes, quasi bonus piscator ad pisces.

4. Una via est in psalmis; hanc ne dimittas. Si non potes omnia, qui venisti fervore novicio, nunc in hoc, nunc in illo loco psallere in spiritu et intelligere mente stude, et cum ceperis vagare legendo, ne desistas, sed festina intelligendo emendare;

5. pone te ante omnia in presentia Dei cum timore et tremore, quasi qui stat in conspectu imperatoris;

6. destrue te totum,

7. et sede quasi pullus, contentus ad gratiam Dei, qui, nisi mater donet, nec sa­pit nec habet quod comedat.

And he received this brief rule from Master Romuald, which he was very careful to practice throughout his life:

1. Sit in the cell as in paradise;

2. cast all memory of the world behind you;

3. cautiously watching your thoughts, as a good fisher watches the fish.

4. In the Psalms there is one way. Do not abandon it. If you who have come with the fervor of a novice cannot understand everything, strive to recite with understanding of spirit and mind, now here, now there, and when you begin to wander while reading, do not stop, but hasten to correct yourself by concentrating.

5. Above all, place yourself in the presence of God with fear and trembling, like someone who stands in the sight of the emperor;

6. destroy yourself completely,

7. and sit like a chick, content with the grace of God, for unless its mother gives it something, it tastes nothing and has nothing to eat.

In summary, Saint Romuald ’ s seven-step Brief Rule for novice-hermits comprises a surprisingly rich set of exercises for training in contemplation which succinctly cover the following topics:

(1) posture, place, solitude, inner peace, and joy;

(2) detachment and liberation for concentration;

(3) self-observation and analysis for purity of mind and heart;

(4) attentively praying the Psalms as seeds of meditation;

(5) reverent, compunctious practice of the presence of God;

(6) intensive ascetical inner overcoming of faults;

(7) childlike humility and receptivity to grace.

If this summary strikes the reader as rather modern and up-to-date, there is a simple explanation: the basic process of the inner Christian reform as lived and transmitted by Anthony, Romuald, Francis, and Charles de Foucauld is a permanent fixture, like the death and resurrection of Christ, which does not change with passing trends in spirituality.

And imagine that I thought others might find this little rule fascinating. Yes, I know the English has copyright concerns, but the Latin does not. Is it possible to envision a practical curated resource/tool that allowed us to share such gems ... with a bit of the rabbit trail that led us to it so that others might wander similar paths finding additional treasures?

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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