The Benedictine Rule, developed and codified by the saint over the course of decades of study and practical experience as an abbot, has formed the standard for Western monasticism for nearly fifteen hundred years.
The author of this paragraph by paragraph commentary, Dom Paul Delatte, was the second successor of Dom Gueranger as Abbot of Solesmes, a monastery which was central in the revival of French monasticism after the terrible persecution of the French Revolution and is justly famed for its key role in the liturgical movement of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Delatte speaks, not as an antiquarian explicating some ancient curiosity, nor as an innovator seeking justification in a peculiar interpretation of the distant past, but as part of a living, breathing tradition.
The commentary, although written for monks, is of interest to those outside the cloister - the book is dedicated "to all those, whether in monasteries or in the world, who belong to the great family of St Benedict." In the midst of a consideration of the practicalities of St Benedict's regulations concerning monastic meals, Dom Delatte surprises by remarking on the error of conflating commutative and distributive justice. A section on the manner in which the Divine Office is to be chanted becomes a lesson in the importance of self-denial. The Rule is more than a set of arbitrary or practical laws for the functioning of a society - it is a means of personal formation and growth in holiness.