Item description for Man of Blessing: A Life of St. Benedict by Carmen Acevedo Butcher...
Overview Benedict left behind a life of privilege to live in a cave and learn how to be silent. There, he also learned how to walk the way of truth and be God's friend. Set against the bloody backdrop that was Italy in mid-first-millennium, Benedict's life charts a course far different from the violent struggles of his day. In a time of war and want, this monk and abbot aimed to establish and nurture community, cultivate the wilderness, and feed the poor. He also left us his famous Rule, seventy-three short chapters that are the foundation for Western monasticism and remain a spiritual classic. Published on the one-year anniversary of the new Pope Benedict XVI, Man of Blessing answers these questions: -What is in St. Benedict's Rule? (A brief chapter-by-chapter summary of St. Benedict's Rule is presented.) -Why did Pope Benedict XVI choose the name "Benedict"? -What other popes have taken the name? -What were the important events in the life of St. Benedict? -What are St. Benedict's lasting legacies?
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Carmen Acevedo Butcher has spent the last twenty years studying and teaching medieval Christianity. She earned her Ph.D. in medieval studies and teaches at Shorter College. She is also the author of "Man of Blessing: A Life of St. Benedict" and "Hildegard of Bingen: A Spiritual Reader." Visit her at www.carmenbutcher.com.
Reviews - What do customers think about Man of Blessing: A Life of St. Benedict?
Beautifully done Sep 22, 2008
In deceptively simple prose, the author paints a picture of St. Benedict and the Middle Ages that stands as a mirror for our time. Each chapter is short and often organized around a theme (eg. my favorite, a chapter on prideful careerism leading to demonic possession) and makes for a good meditation before going to sleep. In spite of the book's simplicity--or because of it--Benedict stands out as a truly important figure in European history.
Lovely and inspiring May 30, 2006
This lovely, charming book gives us the life of St. Benedict in the format used by ancient biographers to tell the life of a saint. Each chapter is a small story, an episode in his life, that has a lesson for us embedded into it. And like all ancient saint biographies, there is an air of "magical realism" in that whether or not the miracle actually happened as recorded doesn't really matter. A lesson is imparted to us that holds a higher truth. It is strange that this man, Benedict, who lived 1500 years ago can seem so contemporary in ways. His rule of life has certainly remained meaningful and is lived by many people today, both monastics and lay people. The author well describes Benedict's sense of spiritual and psychological balance, his kindness, and gifts as a spiritual father. I recommend this fine book to anyone who practices lectio, or just wants to learn more about Benedict.
Book of Blessing Apr 27, 2006
Butcher describes Benedict's Rule, writing, "Its honest voice and kind simplicity draw the reader in completely." However, this does not only describe Benedict's Rule, but also characterizes Carmen Butcher's book, Man of Blessing. I thoroughly enjoyed every word, right down to the appendix where Butcher summarizes the 73 chapters of the Rule. She makes this ancient text accessible to anyone lucky enough to pick up her book. Butcher's investigation into who Benedict was and how he got that way is intriguing and enlightening. The constant delving into word history brings us closer to the heart of Benedict and the words he would have used to communicate with those he loved: his followers and his Leader. By defining Benedict's rule as "...a spiritual guide designed- not for mystics or superhumans- but for the average person wanting to commune with God and enjoy a more meaningful life," Butcher gives a picture of Benedict's Rule, while at the same time defining her own book as well.
Detailed yet easy-to-read portrayal of St. Benedict Apr 13, 2006
As a Catholic law student currently taking a course on Western Legal Tradition, I found this book to provide a wonderful supplement to my course. St. Benedict's compilation of the Rule is an admirable life endeavor and an incredible process of perfecting "laws" applicable to living a faith-filled life. His life story written with an eye to the academic reader, as well as those readers seeking knowledge of his life given our current Pope's namesake, is an easy, informative, and inspirational read.
Inspiring Biography!! Apr 6, 2006
MAN OF BLESSING is a delightful account of the inspiring life of St. Benedict. Carmen Butcher's gift for language and love for etymology shine through this book and make it both enjoyable and informative. The dramatic story of the transformation of Benedict from the humble hermit of Subiaco to the gentle abbot of Monte Cassino offers a unique glimpse into the often secluded world of Benedictine monastic orders. This book also details the context in which Benedict develops his continuously refined "Rule", which becomes the definitive guidebook for future monastic societies. The value of charity, humility, and poverty personified in this saint of old, still has relevance today. Once again one is reminded that less is always more in the Kingdom of God, and that there is no limit to what God can do with a life that is totally yielded to Him. The impact of such a man of blessing truly is incalculable. Butcher makes this quiet figure of history sing praises once more!!