Monday, February 2, 2009

Going Benedictine

Several years ago I went away to attend a Benedictine Experience. It was a peace-filled week spent in community where we found a balance of time together and time alone; time for silence and time for conversation; time for prayer, for work, for study, and for rest.

While this retreat was literally a mountaintop experience, held at Kanuga in the Blue Ridge mountains of western NC, the Benedictine Life can be an every-day sort of thing. It is an alternative way of being in the world that seeks to embrace the rhythm of the day and the seasons that God has given us for our own restoration, health, and wholeness. Based on an ethos of balance, moderation, and reasonableness, it is in a word, 'Salvation.'

But Salvation must be chosen. Benedict's way of living does not come naturally to us who are socialized to be hurried, harried, achievement and reward driven consumers. We must be intentional about embracing and protecting that rhythm if we are to continue in the dance.

As I begin a new pattern of life, I have decided to intentionally recover those Benedictine practices that keep me grounded, whole, and sane. After first being introduced to St. Benedict's Rule, I learned that it was possible, even in the hectic metro DC area, to live the Benedictine life. But it is also easy to lose touch with our very lives as we seek to chase after future goals and ambitions that may or may not have anything at all to do with our life in Christ or with Salvation.

My mantra continues to be: Secrets are the seeds of dysfunction.
My prayer for today comes from St. Benedict's Prayer Book, Morning Offering for Monday, week one: "Father, we offer to you this day all our thoughts, words and actions, all our sufferings and disappointments, and all our joys. And we unite our lives with that of your beloved Son, Jesus Christ. Amen."

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