Rachel M. Srubas is a Benedictine oblate and Presbyterian clergywoman whose writings have appeared in The Christian Century, America, and The Best American Poetry, among other publications. She is also a spiritual director, retreat leader, preacher, and teacher, and lives in Tucson, Arizona with her husband, Ken S. McAllister.
This book is by Rachel Srubas, Presbyterian clergywoman, wife and Benedictine oblate, who embodies the ecumenism common to the Benedictine family. While personal, her prayer reflections also connect the Rule of St.Benedict to familiar experiences to both oblates and other readers. Srubas says that her writing talent has been nurtured and celebrated for years by the Arizona Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration with whom she is affiliated. Picking up on the Benedictine practice of praying with Scripture known as lectio divina or "divine reading," Srubas calls her reflections scriptio divina or "divine writing." Inspired by the Rule that in its time wedded ancient ideals to contemporary practices, Srubas allows both the Holy Spirit and Benedict's spirit to infuse her words. "Every one of the prayers is an oblation, an offering to God," she writes. Accompanying each prayer is an excerpt from the section of the Rule that was its inspiration. Readers unfamiliar with that book still may I first read "Oblation: Mediations on St. Benedict's Rule "by Rachel Srubas wedged into a crowded Greyhound bus on a rainy Easter Sunday afternoon. Though that may not have been the ideal setting for a good spiritual read (nor probably where the author anticipated it would be read), it was actually quite lovely. It is advantageous, when reading this text, to have time to look off and think, and to be surrounded by very human faces about which to ponder. Come to think of it, that may be exactly what the author intended. In this small volume Srubas presents the reader with the resuits of her "scriptio divina" poem-meditations on most of the chapters of the Rule of Benedict. She calls it, in the preface, "a cliary of Benedictine prayers" composed in response to her reading of the Rule. The "oblation" of the title refers not to the liturgical act of oblation (though Srubas is an oblate of the Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration in Tucson and a Presbyterian clergy. woman) but This tiny book is a collection of prayers, in the form of poems, based on the rule of St. Benedict, whose 1500-year-old guide to a faithful life is used today in a variety of prayer communities. The author, Presbyterian minister Rachel Srubas, is an oblate-a member of the community of the Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration-who considers Benedict's teachings to be "the practical wisdom of the Christian gospel-" Srubas introduces us to contemplative prayer. Already a practitioner of lectio divina, which she calls "listening to the gospel with the ears of the heart," she was led to lectio scriptio, the writing of prayers. The strength of these prayers is in their everyday-ness, in their use of images taken from the common objects and struggles we all confront. The poems are both adventuresome and quieting as they focus on the smallest moments of our humanity and life of the spirit. As poetry these pieces are the work of an accomplished, compelling voice. They draw from spiritua