Monasteries of the Heart

Monks in Our Midst: Judith Sutera on Benedictine mindfulness


July 11 is St. Benedict’s Day. Today, our excerpt comes from Sister Judith Sutera, OSB and her new inclusive translation and daily commentary on the Rule of Benedict. Sister Judith is a member of the Benedictine monastery of Mount St. Scholastica in Atchison, Kansas, and is one of the first women to receive a master’s degree in monastic theology. Her commentary on the first part of the rule reads:


“’Listen!’ The first thing that St. Benedict wants to tell us is that if we are not attentive, we can receive no wisdom; but if we are paying attention, we will hear God’s voice everywhere. Each part of the rule meshes with the others to form a plan for becoming more aware of how God’s voice is there all the time, in everything and everyone, if we are just listening. …

The whole rule can be summed up as a call to mindfulness. Wherever we are, whatever we do, we are always to be attentive to the all-pervading divine. … Benedict, that wise parent, knows that the full attention of the heart will be necessary to sustain the listener in the desire to know and do God’s will. There has to be a complete pathway for the Word to get from the air around us to the very center of our being.” 

Source: St. Benedict’s Rule: An Inclusive Translation and Daily Commentary (2021). Order a copy here. Shared with permission from author.


Reflect with us: The Rule of Benedict begins with the word ‘Listen!’ What has this practice of listening meant in your spiritual life? How has monastic tradition deepened your commitment to mindfulness?


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