The Monastery of the Heart - Benedictine Spirituality for Contemporary Seekers


Every century, every culture has sought the spiritual dimensions of life in particular ways; and across the ages, women and men in East and West chose the path of monastic life, either in solitude or in community. One of them was Benedict of Nursia, the sixth-century founder of communal monasticism in the West. For Benedict, the spiritual life lay in simply living this life, our daily life, well. He turned the ordinary into an experience of the extraordinary, a union with the sacred in the here and now. His enduring legacy—Benedictine spirituality based on the Rule of Benedict—exists to this day, around the world.

The Monastery of the Heart is Joan Chittister’s powerful spiritual guide for all of us who are longing for a more purposeful life in this time of social upheavals and global transformations. It is written for seekers of any faith or none—individuals, couples, families, and small groups— who are looking for new ways of meaningful living in the very center of our world—without ever withdrawing from it. The Monastery of the Heart is anchored in the ancient Rule of Benedict but attempts to redefine it for seekers today. Fresh in its form and focus, it invites us to create within ourselves a Monastery of the Heart.

“…Chittister’s spiritual guide for seekers…addresses such timeless considerations as prayer, silence, good work, humility, and much more.”—BOOKLIST

“…reflects the creation of a new kind of quasi-monastic spirituality suited for the age of liberalization...” —LIBRARY JOURNAL

“...will be helpful to anyone looking for good spiritual direction to their personal journeys, and imaginative reflections on Benedictine life.” —THE AMERICAN BENEDICTINE REVIEW


BlueBridge; Hardcover
137 pages

The 411:

At a time like this many of us turn to the bible. I have been waking and reading passages posted on the Facebook page of my church. I am one of those people who do not go to church often but I pray daily and often turn to the bible for guidance. The Monastery of the Heart couldn't come at a better time in my life.

Non preachy or threatening. Very down to earth and real. Very modern and new, you will forget it is written by a nun. This is how I wish I was talked to as a child of God. I wouldn't have run from my formal religious education as a youngster. I loved it from cover to cover.

The book really spoke to me. I make personal time to retreat to my bedroom and when I feel the need to listen. I listen to my thoughts sometimes out loud and sometimes in my head but often it is to ask God for help for myself or someone else. Chapter 7 was my favorite. It is titled Retreat and Reflection and made me feel good about what I have been doing.

Chapter 20 is Stability of the Heart and if nothing else...this is the chapter that will speak to all of us at this time. Being stuck in the house with family due to the COV19 outbreak that the world is dealing with is hard. Relationships if you are not grounded and open can be very difficult when you are forced to be together.  Joan writes "When life seems unclear, out of control, wavering, it is stability in a Monastery of the Heart that leads us from one day to the next. When life tastes least satisfying, it is stability of heart that continues to trust in the zest for life."

I urge you to seek out your personal journey with God or whomever you are praying to. It is personal. It is your journey. No one can tell you who to talk to or how to get there but do it. Lower the lights, lower your eyes and open your heart. If it feels good and right then you are halfway there.

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Disclaimer: I received a complimentary product for my honest opinion. No monetary compensation was offered.

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