Friday, April 3, 2009

The Scriptorium

I plan to start a listing of books that I consider to have been helpful or even decisive in my journey toward becoming an Oblate. I’m not sure I can put these in any particular order of priority as my study and reading on the topic have been over a longish period of time and, at different times I’ve found different books to be more useful. I’ll add to this list as times goes on and try to provide short comments about why I found them to be of value.

Two books that will appear now are both by Wil Derkse, The Rule of St. Benedict for Beginners, and A Blessed Life, Benedictine Guidelines for Those Who Long for Good Days, which was just released in February of this year. Mr. Derkse is a Dutch Oblate and, I think, a college professor in Holland and someone who truly understands what Benedictine spirituality is all about. I like these books especially because Derkse does a wonderful job of bringing monastic spirituality down to earth. He shows how different aspects of it can be applied particularly in work situations which really shows the Rule still has something to say to people today.

One problem with both books is what I suspect is an inadequate translation from the Dutch. There are many passages in each book that are written in poor English, some almost to the point of being incomprehensible in a few cases, and they really detract from the overall quality of the books. I imagine its not easy to find many Dutch-English translators, and I’m grateful to have these books in any form, but I wish an editor had worked more closely with the translator to provide a more polished finished product.

That said, for anyone wishing to learn more about what it means to be an Oblate, these are good books to start with.

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