What we mean to establish is a school for the Lord's service.
Prologue, The Rule of St. Benedict
Cornerstone is a community of about 40 men and women who seek to apply the ancient monastic wisdom expressed in The Rule of St. Benedict to contemporary life. By experiencing the transformation that Christ's love works in our lives, we are brought close to God and to each other, and we are sustained in our ministry to the world.
We meet together as a community eight times a year. We also meet weekly in small groups of no more than 10 people each for prayer and study.
Throughout his Rule, Benedict guides monks to live in a sacred rhythm moving back and forth between prayer and work to help them experience the charge of God's glory through their whole common life and to offer this blessing back to their community. Benedictine monks make three vows:
- Conversion of Life - an openness to the sanctity of everyday life and a commitment to practice the ideals of Scripture and the Rule.
- Stability - the promise to remain in community even though close relationships can create interpersonal tensions.
- Obedience - accepting the example of Jesus to seek what is best for others.
Benedict of Nursia, Italy, was a monastic leader in the first half of the 6th century who wrote a guide for living in community that has shaped Christian life, prayer and practice for nearly 1,500 years. The Rule provides practical wisdom on subjects ranging from how to pray to how to answer the door.
How does it apply to our 21st century lives? For Cornerstone, the world is our cloister. We find that applying the Benedictine vows and practices to contemporary life helps us live in the world with purpose and joy. Members of our lay order commit to a balanced practice of regular prayer, study, and work. We are ordered under an abbot who guides the life of the community. Our practice includes:
- Worship - Each small group shares some form of regular worship; Compline, chant, intercessions, contemplation, or lectio divina (prayerful reading).
- Study - Each small group studies The Rule discerning how to apply its wisdom to their lives. Each group also chooses another book, reading or issue for weekly reflection and discussion.
- Prayer - Members are expected to participate in church worship, practice daily prayer, and contemplate God throughout the day.
- Community Meetings - The whole community gathers for meetings throughout the year. These meetings include Eucharist, a common meal, study, fellowship, and chanted Compline. Additionally, we gather for St. Benedict's birthday potluck and an Epiphany celebration.
To Join Us
All who are interested in membership begin the process of joining by attending a series of classes on Benedictine practice. The classes, taught by the abbot and members of the community, are held as part of Wednesday at the Commons including Eucharist at 5:30 p.m., dinner at 6:00 p.m., and instruction from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. A liturgy for admission of new members and the community's reaffirmation of vows takes place in December in Trinity's Chapel.
Out of your infinite glory, give us the power through your Spirit,
for our hidden selves to grow strong,
so that Christ may live in our hearts through faith,
planted in love and built on love,
we will with all the saints have strength
to grasp the breadth and the length,
the height and the depth;
until, knowing the love of Christ,
which is beyond all knowledge,
we are filled with the utter fullness of God.