The Christ-Like Worlds of Saints Benedict and Basil

Never swerving from his instructions, then, but faithfully
observing his teaching in the monastery until death, we
shall through patience share in the sufferings of Christ that
we may deserve also to share in his kingdom.

St. Benedict, The Rule of St. Benedict

The two pillars of the Christian monastic tradition are undoubtedly St. Basil the Great (c.330-379) and St. Benedict (c.480-c.547). St. Basil was a prodigious scholar and esteemed professor when the "radiant light of the Gospels roused him from his worldly slumber." After studying the monastic paths of perfection, Basil founded a monastery and throughout his life provided a home for the homeless, care for the sick and the poor, and training for the unskilled. St. Benedict was no less rigorous in his quest to follow the life and lessons of Christ. The Rule of St. Benedict, a seminal text on the meaning and nature of Christian monasticism in the West, legislated the life of the monk and defined the basic virtues of a monk - poverty, chastity, and obedience - as the means to participating in the life of Christ. With their spiritual vision and their intellectual acuity, Basil and Benedict endeavored to establish the monastic life as one in which nothing was valued more highly than the struggle to shed the ego, the struggle for sanctity.
Canadian Heritage Information Network, The Provincial Museum of Alberta,

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