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“For it becomes the master to speak and to teach, but it beseems the disciple to be silent and to listen.” The Rule of St. Benedict

Fall break. I am spending a week with fourteen college students, plus my son, living the life—as near as we can—of the Benedictine monks of Clear Creek in Oklahoma. It is truly an experience of another life. A life that has the power to change the world. Indeed, once upon a time it did. A life from which we—even though most of us must live a different life—can learn much.

Perhaps the most striking feature is the silence. St. Benedict both commands silence and forbids idleness. Silence with a purpose. Silence with urgency, but peace. Silence because something needs to be done, which can only be done in silence. Silence because something needs to be learned. Through listening.

Upon seeing and hearing such silence one is struck by how strange it is. How can they do this?

Then light begins to dawn. How can the rest of us not emulate this? Somehow. For the sake of human life.

St. Benedict (480-543) is considered the father of western monasticism.

Originally posted at Bacon from Acorns

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John A. Cuddeback is a professor and chairman of the Philosophy Department at Christendom College in Front Royal, Virginia, where he has taught since 1995. He received a Ph.D. in Philosophy from The Catholic University of America under the direction of F. Russell Hittinger. He has lectured on various topics including virtue, culture, natural law, friendship, and household. His book Friendship: The Art of Happiness was republished in 2010 as True Friendship: Where Virtue Becomes Happiness. His writings have appeared in Nova et Vetera, The Thomist, and The Review of Metaphysics, as well as in several volumes published by the American Maritain Association. Though raised in what he calls an ‘archetypical suburb,’ Columbia, Maryland, he and his wife Sofia consider themselves blessed to be raising their six children in the shadow of the Blue Ridge on the banks of the Shenandoah. At the material center of their homesteading projects are heritage breed pigs, which like the pigs of Eumaeus are fattened on acorns, yielding a bacon that too few people ever enjoy. His website dedicated to the philosophy of family and household is baconfromacorns.com.