Humans naturally crave fellowship and friendship but oftentimes, in today’s world, it is hard to come by or create, even in Catholic parishes or Christian churches. Enter BUILDING THE BENEDICT OPTION, by Leah Libresco, a delightful and inspiring handbook on why community is so important, especially to Catholics and Christians, and how to go about building that community.
A writer, statistician, author, hostess and former atheist, Libresco converted to Catholicism after studying at Yale University. She was mentored by Dominican friars and saw how community was central to their lives — and desired for herself more communal prayer and fellowship than weekly Mass could provide. She surveyed her friends — busy, young, urban professionals like herself — and created unique enriching or supportive experiences that matched their desires and schedules. The result was a less lonely and more boisterous spiritual and social life.
Part handbook on how to cook for thirty people every Friday night (a little extra pasta and vegetables go a long way) and part spiritual memoir, BUILDING THE BENEDICT OPTION explores not only the natural desires for fellowship among Christians, but how to do little things to create intimate gatherings that satisfy those desires and deepen the reader’s relationship to Christ and others.
BUILDING THE BENEDICT OPTION is written in such a way where a reader could put it down at any time and implement ideas in their own lives that Libresco suggests for creating their own Catholic communities. Inspired by Rod Dreher’s book The Benedict Option, Libresco writes on how to create that community, to become a thoughtful host, and to gather people together in efforts to deepen their faith and friendships.
“The brilliant Leah Libresco offers us an original and exciting Benedict-tinged ‘option’ full of joy — one that works wherever one is planted,” said Elizabeth Scalia, author of Strange Gods: Unmasking the Idols in Everyday Life.