Sunday, June 14, 2009

Used Books. A Benedictine oblate blog

I enjoy finding used books in the Abbey bookstore.

When my wife and I were at St. Leo Abbey yesterday for the 120th anniversary of the abbey, we stopped by the abbey’s bookstore as we always do on our visits.

Being able to browse the bookstore’s new books and getting advice from the monks who run the shop is a significant part of how I learn the Benedictine way.

Advice I receive online is also good, but most of my final decisions to buy a particular book come after I read parts of the book in the St. Leo Abbey bookstore.

Yesterday I saw a journal — the cover is shown above. “Word and Spirit” was published by St. Bede’s Publications, Petersham, MA, USA. I read a trade web site containing a note that the “Word and Spirit” journal is no longer being published. I bought a used copy of volume 17, with someone’s underlining scattered on a few pages.

Without St. Leo Abbey’s bookstore I would most likely never have come across the book, but I am glad I did. At $1.95 the price was perfect and its 140 pages contains about eight articles by different authors.

I don’t yet know if the entire book will be worth the $1.95, but the first two pages are. The author of the first article wrote about the types of life-long monastic formation (how men and women are trained/learn/develop as monks/nuns/sisters).

One interesting idea from those first two pages is that in the times of the Desert Fathers, men became monks by a kind of apprenticeship program — they found a person whose type of life they wished to develop as their own. The process was not so much an education, but a conversion. Would-be monks sought a new being, not a new credential.

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