The Rule of Saint Benedict
St. Benedict was the founder not only of the Abbey Montecassino, but also the father of the entire Benedictine Order. Many miracles have been attributed to him, but St. Gregory the Great proposed a widely held belief: the most important and enduring miracle of St. Benedict was the creation of his Rule, what we call The Rule of St. Benedict. Written during the mid 6th century, the Rule of St. Benedict was the defining text which changed monasticism in the West.
The Rule consists of 73 chapters. In the 73rd and final chapter St. Benedict modestly says that his Rule is less an instructional manual to perfection but rather a guideline to piousness for beginners to the spiritual life. The Rule is however not only for novice or prospective monks, but also a manual for worship and code, monastic life as a whole as well as insight for monastic organization and duties, and disciplinary actions to be taken by abbots and superiors. The Rule in its entirety encourages love, prayer, work, respect, chastity, moderation, and community.
The Rule was embraced and diffused by numerous other monasteries and remains fundamentally important to the Benedictine Order. The Rule was written in clear language and therefore easy to utilize and follow. It was intended to be adopted by other autonomous monasteries and not solely for St. Benedict's beloved Montecassino. One important historical figure to duplicate St. Benedict's Rule and promote it throughout Western Europe was Charlemagne during the 8th century. The inspiration and dedication awakened by The Rule is a great part of why St. Benedict's message has lived on for more than a millennium.