In Subiaco, Where it All Began

Dispatch #9 from Sr. Bobbi

We have been at Subiaco about 6 hours now. I am sitting across from his cave (Sr. Ruth and I are inside his cave, above) and looking out over what would have been his daily view!

At the bottom of the mountain lies Villa Neronis, the villa of the emperor Nero who was a great 1st Century persecutor of Christians. It’s still being excavated. Just up the mountain from the villa is St. Scholastic Monastery (see photos of this and the view from Benedict’s cave) which was built in her honor. She lived only in Norcia and Monte Cassino.

Benedict ended up here, at the top of the mountain, in an effort to seek God and, I think, to find himself and what he desired in life. He lived in this cave in Sacro Speco, Subiaco, under the spiritual guidance of Rominus. He lived as a hermit to reflect on his life, gain spiritual insights, face his demons and learn from the wisdom of his mentor.  I imagine Benedict also studied the rules and lives of Anthony, Augustine, Basil, Cassian and Pachomius.

Benedict then left this hermitage to go to Subiaco and began the next phase of his spiritual journey. Older and wiser, he began to draw people who sought God and a more spiritual life. Small groups of probably no more than 10 – 12 men were established under Benedict’s guidance. We know of 12 such small communities around the area of Subiaco.

Although Benedict began writing his Rule here, it was not fully completed until many years later at Monte Cassino. A dynamic document that grew out of his own spiritual growth as well as his continued experience of living with a community of men, the Rule is yet today dynamic and adaptable, while retaining a timeless wisdom.

I was drawn to Benedictine life because of its rhythm of prayer and its practical application in everyday life. The Rule has wisdom for living a decent Christian life based on practical and common sense insights. It is about following Christ everyday and in every encounter and situation. Is this for you, too?

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