Shaped by the Rule of St. Benedict (c. 540), Benedictine spirituality is essentially monastic. It focuses on the desire to seek God under the guidance of an abbot. The abbot was originally elected for life. The monks' chief work (opus Dei) is the praise of God, in the form of a community recitation or chanting of the Latin Psalter. The recitation of the Psalter is spread over several days at the rhythm of seven times a day. Each day is divided into three equal periods of prayer, work (manual or intellectual), and care of the body with food and rest. A meditative reading of scripture (lectio divina) is the common form of spiritual reflection, and eucharist is the central exercise of the day. Lay “oblates” living in the world share the monastic ideal. The shape of this spirituality was formative for the Daily Office of the BCP.
Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from “An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians,” Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.