Week One: Listening for God – Being an Open Heart

 Romans 10:12-15

12 This includes everyone, because there is no difference between Jews and Gentiles; God is the same Lord of all and richly blesses all who call.

13 As the scripture says, “Everyone who calls out to the Lord for help will be saved.”

14 But how can they call to him for help if they have not believed? And how can they believe if they have not heard the message? And how can they hear if the message is not proclaimed?

15 And how can the message be proclaimed if the messengers are not sent out? As the scripture says, “How wonderful is the coming of messengers who bring good news!”

All Scripture taken from the Good News Bible in Today’s English Version – Second Edition, Copyright © 1992 by American Bible Society. Used by Permission.

Exercise for the next week:  We’ll be looking for Christ’s messengers bringing us the good news we seek from the pages of Scripture and the world around us. We will then examine where these nudges parallel and intersect each other. When we reconvene next week we’ll also try to determine the parallels and intersections between all of our experiences.

 1. Select a Bible passage to read each morning or evening – you decide. A short passage of five to ten verses should be adequate, but, of course, that is entirely up to you. As is the selection of the passage. Quiet yourself each time and read the passage carefully. Jot down just the few key words or phrases that leap out at you or stir particular comfort or discomfort. Do not reread your previous day’s reflections before reading each day.

2. Follow up with contemplative prayer. This prayer is to open your heart to the “still small voice”, so try not to crowd it with your concerns. (Fell free to pray for those concerns at other times during the day.) Make this prayer as long as you can, and don’t fight your mind wandering. If you feel that your thoughts are erratic during this time, simply recite a short, meaningful clause or verse from the Bible passage you read until you feel calm and receptive. Jot down any images or persistent ideas that reveal themselves to you.

3. Try to listen to those around you that day. At the end of the day write down anything you were told that might sound like wisdom, or anything that sounded like it formed a pattern. If you read your Bible selection in the evening, don’t do this exercise right after reading – do it before.

 Daily, or as often as you can, compare the key words or thoughts from each source. Try to find parallels, intersections, and even oppositions within the lists. Highlight or list separately those that seem significant.

 Before our next meeting, examine these daily comparisons and see if a pattern develops for the week. Pay attention to how key words or phrases may have changed, or how their meaning may have shifted, as the week progressed. Did these commonalities appear to fit with any life questions or situations you are experiencing. Bring this with you next week.

Week Two: Prayer – Consciousness of God

 Matthew 6:7-13

7 “When you pray, do not use a lot of meaningless words, as the pagans do, who think that their gods will hear them because their prayers are long.

8 Do not be like them. Your Father already knows what you need before you ask him.

9 This, then, is how you should pray: ‘Our Father in heaven:  
May your holy name be honored;

10 may your Kingdom come; may your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

11 Give us today the food we need

12 Forgive us the wrongs we have done, as we forgive the wrongs that others have done to us.

13 Keep us from being tempted and protect us from evil.

“Benedictine prayer is regular, universal, converting, reflective, and communal … To pray only when it suits us is to want God on out terms … To pray when we cannot, on the other hand, is to let God be our prayer … Prayer changes my own mind, lets me put on the mind of Christ, and enable grace to break into me … Contemplative prayer leads us to see our world through the eyes of God … And consciousness of God is perpetual prayer.”[2]

St. Benedict had a lot to say about prayer. Imagining spirituality as a stool, he saw prayer as one of the three legs of the foundation, along with meaningful work and holy leisure. Benedict believed prayer opened us to the plights of others – prayer is with, for and as a community or group.

Exercise for the next week:  We’ll be looking for Christ’s messengers again, but this time adding more emphasis on prayer along with the Scripture.

1. Select a different Bible passage to read each morning or evening. Repeat last weeks exercise except try to be reflective – get drawn into the story.

2. Prayer at least three times a day for a reasonable period of time. Keep your schedule no matter what comes up – remember prayer is not ritual; it can be done wherever you find yourself. Make one prayer contemplative, keeping yourself open to the images from God, and as long as you can. Make another about problems, yours or friends. The third should be communal, if possible, with you praying for the other party. Jot down any images or persistent ideas that reveal themselves to you.

3. Try to listen to those around you that day. Repeat the writing exercise, but in addition try to hear reasons to pray in the world about you.

 Daily, or as often as you can, compare the key words or thoughts from each source. Try to find parallels, intersections, and even oppositions within the lists. Highlight or list separately those that seem significant.

Before our next meeting, examine these daily comparisons and see if a pattern develops for the week. Pay attention to how key words or phrases may have changed, or how their meaning may have shifted, as the week progressed. Did these commonalities appear to fit with any life questions or situations you are experiencing. Bring this with you next week.

 

Week Three: Community – Eating with 3ft  Chopsticks

Matthew 25: 34-40

34 Then the King will say to the people on his right, “Come, you that       are blessed by my Father! Come and possess the kingdom which has been prepared for you ever since the creation of the world.

35 I was hungry and you fed me, thirsty and you gave me a drink; I was a stranger and you received me in your homes,

36 naked and you clothed me; I was sick and you took care of me, in prison and you visited me.’

37 The righteous will then answer him, “When, Lord, did we ever see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you a drink?

38 When did we ever see you a stranger and welcome you in our homes, or naked and clothe you?

39 When did we ever see you sick or in prison, and visit you?’

40 The King will reply, “I tell you, whenever you did this for one of the least important of these followers of mine, you did it for me!’

“In hell, the ancients said, people have chopsticks three feet long so they cannot possibly reach their mouths. In heaven, the chopsticks are also three feet long – but, in heaven, the people feed one another.”[3]

                This little story just about covers St. Benedict’s feelings about community. Love costs dearly – serving, providing for, respect. Love demands – make relationships a priority; share our minds, our time, and ourselves; allow people to be who they are.[4] Live with others in the spirit of Christ, and we’ll belong to something far bigger than ourselves. Otherwise, we only have half a life.

 Exercise for the next week:  Now we’re going to look for Christ’s messengers to lead us in our relationships with others. We’ll use the same tools, but this time to see how we can help in the world around us.

1. Select a different Bible passage to read each morning or evening. Repeat last weeks exercise except try to be reflective – get drawn into the story. Try to find encouragement for actively being in the world around you.

2. Prayer at least three times a day for a reasonable period of time. Same exercise as last week, but these times try to feel nudges to help or care for someone else.

 3. Try to listen to those around you that day. Repeat the writing exercise, but in addition try to hear reasons to pray and help in the world about you.

Describe in your notes if you felt closer to the people around you – your family or community. Talk about any impressions you received that compelled you to act, if applicable. Was there any difference in how you felt this week? If so, how? Be prepared to talk about this.

Daily, or as often as you can, compare the key words or thoughts from each source. Try to find parallels, intersections, and even oppositions within the lists. Highlight or list separately those that seem significant.

Before our next meeting, examine these daily comparisons and see if a pattern develops for the week. Pay attention to how key words or phrases may have changed, or how their meaning may have shifted, as the week progressed. Did these commonalities appear to fit with any life questions or situations you are experiencing. Bring this with you next week.

 

Week Four: Humility – Acknowledging God’s Gifts

Romans 12:6-16

6 So we are to use our different gifts in accordance with the grace that God has given us. If our gift is to speak God’s message, we should do it according to the faith that we have;

7 if it is to serve, we should serve; if it is to teach, we should teach;

8 if it is to encourage others, we should do so. Whoever shares with others should do it generously; whoever has authority should work hard; whoever shows kindness to others should do it cheerfully.

9 Love must be completely sincere. Hate what is evil, hold on to what is good.

10 Love one another warmly as Christians, and be eager to show respect for one another.

11 Work hard and do not be lazy. Serve the Lord with a heart full of devotion.

12 Let your hope keep you joyful, be patient in your troubles, and pray at all times.

13 Share your belongings with your needy fellow Christians, and open your homes to strangers.

14 Ask God to bless those who persecute you-yes, ask him to bless, not to curse.

15 Be happy with those who are happy, weep with those who weep. 16 Have the same concern for everyone. Do not be proud, but accept humble duties. Do not think of yourselves as wise.

St. Benedict’s road to humility isn’t easy, but moving from believing we are the ‘owners’ of our worldly gifts and talents, to being the bearers of them, for God to the world, can be remarkably freeing. His rule lays out the following roadway to humility[5]:

1. Remember we’re not God, God is – and He is with always.

2. Accept the will of God – even in trying times.

3. Accept that there are people who have authority over us. Give up arrogance and look for God’s will through others.

4. Life is hard – not always impossible or immoral – just difficult sometimes. Be emotionally mature.

5. Have integrity – be honest and disclose our limitations.

6. Strive for economic justice – be willing to have what is good enough, but not necessarily the finest. Acquire only to give; gather only to share.

7. Accept we can grow – take criticism well.

8. Always be willing to learn from others.

9. Don’t tell people how to live their lives.

10. Don’t ridicule, mock or laugh too easily.

11. Speak gently, concisely and attend to things of substance.

12. Surrender to God – admit His gifts to you; use them for others.

Now we can live in right relationship to the world. Each person has something important to call out of us, to support in us, or to bring to fruit a vision God has for us[6].

Exercise for the next week:  Now we’re going to look for Christ’s messengers to teach us. We’ll use the same tools, but this time to see how we can grow and demonstrate Christ’s humility to the world around us.

 1. Select a different Bible passage to read each morning or evening. Repeat. Try to hear constructive lessons.

2. Prayer at least three times a day for a reasonable period of time. Same exercise, but look to be submissive to God.

 3. Try to listen to those around you that day. Repeat the writing exercise, but in addition try to hear God’s promptings to change.

Describe in your notes if you felt compelled to do ‘menial’ tasks to serve others, or if called to something more worthy than the distractions of the day.

Daily, or as often as you can, compare the key words or thoughts from each source. Try to find parallels, intersections, and even oppositions within the lists. Highlight or list separately those that seem significant.

 efore our next meeting, examine these daily comparisons and see if a pattern develops for the week. Pay attention to how key words or phrases may have changed, or how their meaning may have shifted, as the week progressed. Did these commonalities appear to fit with any life questions or situations you are experiencing. Bring this with you next week.

 

Week Five: Mindfulness – Finding Harmony

Luke 12:15-21

15 And he went on to say to them all, “Watch out and guard yourselves from every kind of greed; because your true life is not made up of the things you own, no matter how rich you may be.”

16 Then Jesus told them this parable: “There was once a rich man who had land which bore good crops.

17 He began to think to himself, “I don’t have a place to keep all my crops. What can I do?

18 This is what I will do,’ he told himself; “I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, where I will store the grain and all my other goods.

19 Then I will say to myself, Lucky man! You have all the good things you need for many years. Take life easy, eat, drink, and enjoy yourself!’ 20 But God said to him, “You fool! This very night you will have to give up your life; then who will get all these things you have kept for yourself?’ ”

21 And Jesus concluded, “This is how it is with those who pile up riches for themselves but are not rich in God’s sight.”

“In Benedictine spirituality, everything is sacred … awareness of the sacred in life holds our world together … spend our time well and be careful our wants are not confused with our needs … Benedictine harmony and balance demand a simpler approach to life and respect for time, personal goods and stewardship.”[7]

Awareness brings balance and harmony. It requires slowing down, listening, prayer and observation of the world to enable us to live a fuller life. Awareness brings freedom from being trapped in a pigeon hole formed of our own limited perception.

Exercise for the next week:  In case you haven’t noticed our study and application of Benedictine spirituality is cumulative, we keep adding things to our original exercises. But these ‘things’ don’t add work, simply effort and intention while we do them. Now we’re going to look for Christ’s messengers to show us the world through the lenses of where we’ve been. We’ll listen to scripture, prayer and the community to which we belong, through eyes of humility, to become mindful of all of God’s creation and our role in it.

We’ll use the same tools, but this time to see how we can become more mindful of the world around us, and more judicious in using God’s resources.

1. Select a different Bible passage to read each morning or evening. Repeat. Try to hear a call to be aware of God’s creation.

2. Prayer at least three times a day for a reasonable period of time. Same exercise, but look to find awareness from God. This is, of course very subjective and may generate some of the best conversation so far.

3. Try to listen to those around you that day. Repeat the writing exercise, but in addition try to see the harmony in life, or the imbalance that comes from being unaware.

Daily, or as often as you can, compare the key words or thoughts from each source. Try to find parallels, intersections, and even oppositions within the lists. Highlight or list separately those that seem significant.

 Before our next meeting, examine these daily comparisons and see if a pattern develops for the week. Pay attention to how key words or phrases may have changed, or how their meaning may have shifted, as the week progressed. Did these commonalities appear to fit with any life questions or situations you are experiencing. Bring this with you next week.

 

Week Six: Work & Play – Finding Balance

Genesis 1

1 In the beginning, when God created the universe…

3 Then God commanded, “Let there be light”-and light appeared …

6 Then God commanded, “Let there be a dome to divide the water and to keep it in two separate places”-and it was done…

9 Then God commanded, “Let the water below the sky come together in one place, so that the land will appear”-and it was done…

14 Then God commanded, “Let lights appear in the sky to separate day from night and to show the time when days, years, and religious festivals…

20 Then God commanded, “Let the water be filled with many kinds of living beings, and let the air be filled with birds…

24 Then God commanded, “Let the earth produce all kinds of animal life: domestic and wild, large and small”-and it was done…

26 Then God said, “And now we will make human beings…

31 God looked at everything he had made, and he was very pleased…

Genesis 2

1 And so the whole universe was completed.

2 By the seventh day God finished what he had been doing and stopped working.

3 He blessed the seventh day and set it apart as a special day, because by that day he had completed his creation and stopped working

15 Then the Lord God placed the man in the Garden of Eden to cultivate it and guard it.

                “Work is co-creative … continues what God wants done …is purposeful and perfecting and valuable … is commitment to God’s service … develops the worker … is essential to community development and justice. Laziness and irresponsibility are forms of injustice … worker needs to do justice to the community, and the community to the worker.” [8]

                “Leisure is not selfish or lazy … work doesn’t exist in a vacuum … Sabbath equalizes the rich and the poor for one day … leisure is play and rest … rest is renewal and contemplation.” [9]

                St. Benedict saw work as an effort to find purpose in life, and leisure an effort to find meaning. Both should be done well and with justice and fairness.

 Exercise for the next week:  Now we’re going to look for Christ’s messengers to show us how work and leisure are part of God’s plan. We’ll listen to scripture, prayer and the community to which we belong, while we’re working, playing and refreshing our spirit.

We’ll use the same tools, but this time to see how we can become more responsive of the world around us, especially in the home, in the workplace and wherever, or whenever we play.

1. Select a different Bible passage to read each morning or evening. Repeat. Try to hear a call to be a good worker, and a fair and judicious leader.

2. Prayer at least three times a day for a reasonable period of time. Same exercise, but try to hear nudges from God balancing your time and effort.

 3. Try to listen to those around you that day. Repeat the writing exercise, but in addition try to see how work can be balanced with play to improve your week.

Daily, or as often as you can, compare the key words or thoughts from each source. Try to find parallels, intersections, and even oppositions within the lists. Highlight or list separately those that seem significant.

 Before our next meeting, examine these daily comparisons and see if a pattern develops for the week. Pay attention to how key words or phrases may have changed, or how their meaning may have shifted, as the week progressed. Did these commonalities appear to fit with any life questions or situations you are experiencing. Bring this with you next week.

 

Week Seven: Hospitality – Pouring Ourselves Out

Romans 12

9 Love must be completely sincere. Hate what is evil, hold on to what is good.

10 Love one another warmly as Christians, and be eager to show respect for one another.

11 Work hard and do not be lazy. Serve the Lord with a heart full of devotion.

12 Let your hope keep you joyful, be patient in your troubles, and pray at all times.

13 Share your belongings with your needy fellow Christians, and open your homes to strangers.

14 Ask God to bless those who persecute you-yes, ask him to bless, not to curse.

15 Be happy with those who are happy, weep with those who weep. 16 Have the same concern for everyone. Do not be proud, but accept humble duties. Do not think of yourselves as wise.

“Benedictine spirituality says that to become whole ourselves we must learn to let the other in, if for no other reason than to stretch our own vision, to take responsibility for the world by giving to it out of our own abundance, to make the world safe by guarding its people ourselves.” [10]

 Exercise for the next week:  Now it gets a little tough. We have to start relating what we’ve covered to our hearts. You can’t fake hospitality – if you feel the joy it’s tangible, if not it’s obvious. We’re going to look for Christ’s messengers to show us how open up our hearts in love to take part in God’s plan. We’ll listen to scripture, prayer and the community to which we belong to find our opportunities to share God’s provisions and show Christ’s love.

 We’ll use the same tools, but this time to see how we can become more responsive to the world around us, to those in need, to those in pain, and to those who’ve hurt or wronged us.

 1. Select a different Bible passage to read each morning or evening. Repeat. Try to hear a call to forgive, or be hospitable.

 2. Prayer at least three times a day for a reasonable period of time. Same exercise, but try to hear nudges from God balancing your time and effort.

3. Try to listen to those around you that day. Repeat the writing exercise, but in addition try to see others who are in need of witnessing God’s grace and Christ’s love.

Daily, or as often as you can, compare the key words or thoughts from each source. Try to find parallels, intersections, and even oppositions within the lists. Highlight or list separately those that seem significant.

Before our next meeting, examine these daily comparisons and see if a pattern develops for the week. Pay attention to how key words or phrases may have changed, or how their meaning may have shifted, as the week progressed. Did these commonalities appear to fit with any life questions or situations you are experiencing. Bring this with you next week.

 

Week Eight: Obedience – Freedom to be Responsible

Ephesians 6

1 Children, it is your Christian duty to obey your parents, for this is the right thing to do.

2 “Respect your father and mother” is the first commandment that has a promise added: 3 “so that all may go well with you, and you may live a long time in the land.”

4 Parents, do not treat your children in such a way as to make them angry. Instead, raise them with Christian discipline and instruction. 5 Slaves, obey your human masters with fear and trembling; and do it with a sincere heart, as though you were serving Christ.

6 Do this not only when they are watching you, because you want to gain their approval; but with all your heart do what God wants, as slaves of Christ.

7 Do your work as slaves cheerfully, as though you served the Lord, and not merely human beings.

8 Remember that the Lord will reward each of us, whether slave or free, for the good work we do.

9 Masters, behave in the same way toward your slaves and stop using threats. Remember that you and your slaves belong to the same Master in heaven, who judges everyone by the same standard.

“Benedictine communities cannot be pictured correctly by either the pyramid (hierarchical) or the circle (egalitarian), but by the wheel with a hub and spokes. Benedictine authority (the hub) is designed to call us to our best selves by calling us, not to a system, but to the gospel. All members relate to the center and to each other along the spokes.” [11]

                Each is to listen with his or her heart and labor to do what is required of them for the benefit of the community. The leader is to serve the benefit of all members, not just his or her own. “Responsibility is obedience in the best sense of the word.” [12] Obedience is leading or following for the profit of the whole, being ultimately responsible to God, full of humility and intent on growth.  It frees us from the chains of our own attitudes and baggage.

Exercise for the next week:  The heats on. We really have to face the limitations our fierce individualism saddles us with. We’re going to look for Christ’s messengers in the voices of our leaders, and in the circumstances within which we serve the world. We’ll also look for Christ in the faces of those we lead. We’ll listen to scripture, prayer and the community to which we belong to find our opportunities to serve and lead obediently.

We’ll use the same tools, but this time to see how we can discern healthy ways to serve and lead, both for the world and God.

 1. Select a different Bible passage to read each morning or evening. Repeat. Try to hear a call to follow humbly and obediently.

 2. Prayer at least three times a day for a reasonable period of time. Same exercise, but try to hear nudges from God directing your steps.

 3. Try to listen to those around you that day. Repeat the writing exercise, but in addition try to hear God’s direction through those you follow, or those you lead.

 Daily, or as often as you can, compare the key words or thoughts from each source. Try to find parallels, intersections, and even oppositions within the lists. Highlight or list separately those that seem significant.

Before our next meeting, examine these daily comparisons and see if a pattern develops for the week. Pay attention to how key words or phrases may have changed, or how their meaning may have shifted, as the week progressed. Did these commonalities appear to fit with any life questions or situations you are experiencing. Bring this with you next week.

 

Week Nine: Stability – Totally in God & for Others

 Colossians 1

22 But now, by means of the physical death of his Son, God has made you his friends, in order to bring you, holy, pure, and faultless, into his presence.

23 You must, of course, continue faithful on a firm and sure foundation, and must not allow yourselves to be shaken from the hope you gained when you heard the gospel. It is of this gospel that I, Paul, became a servant-this gospel which has been preached to everybody in the world.

24 And now I am happy about my sufferings for you, for by means of my physical sufferings I am helping to complete what still remains of Christ’s sufferings on behalf of his body, the church.

“Benedictine stability deals directly with three things: centeredness, commitment and relationships. It is persistence and perseverance in the face of obstacles and difficulties. [It] enables us to live totally in God and for others … counterweights to pathological egotism in this self-centered world where whole nations starve to death on our kitchen TV sets while we eat dinner without so much as raising an eyebrow.” [13]

In essence, stability comes from applying everything we’ve discussed in service to God and the world. It is a consistent, loving response to the circumstances we find ourselves, and those around us, in.

 Exercise for the next week:  Wow, now the benefits are really starting to flow. We don’t have to suffer our own knee jerk reactions, or proactively try to control our own lives, to find stability. We find it in letting go and letting God. We’re going to listen for the consistency of Christ’s message in the circumstances of our lives and world. We’ll listen to scripture, prayer and the community to which we belong to find the security we crave, but not necessarily what we thought or where we’ve been looking.

We’ll use the same tools, but this time to see how we can discern the infallible message of Christ, and the comfort that comes with it.

1. Select a different Bible passage to read each morning or evening. Repeat. Try to hear the consistency.

2. Prayer at least three times a day for a reasonable period of time. Same exercise, but try to hear the beauty of God’s infallibility and trustworthiness.

3. Try to listen to those around you that day. Repeat the writing exercise, but in addition try to hear God’s to respond in His way to the pressures of the day.

 Daily, or as often as you can, compare the key words or thoughts from each source. Try to find parallels, intersections, and even oppositions within the lists. Highlight or list separately those that seem significant.

Before our next meeting, examine these daily comparisons and see if a pattern develops for the week. Pay attention to how key words or phrases may have changed, or how their meaning may have shifted, as the week progressed. Did these commonalities appear to fit with any life questions or situations you are experiencing. Bring this with you next week.

 

Week Ten: Peace – Finding Justice

 Colossians 1

1 Now that we have been put right with God through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.

2 He has brought us by faith into this experience of God’s grace, in which we now live. And so we boast of the hope we have of sharing God’s glory!

3 We also boast of our troubles, because we know that trouble produces endurance,

4 endurance brings God’s approval, and his approval creates hope. 5 This hope does not disappoint us, for God has poured out his love into our hearts by means of the Holy Spirit, who is God’s gift to us. 6 For when we were still helpless, Christ died for the wicked at the time that God chose.

7 It is a difficult thing for someone to die for a righteous person. It may even be that someone might dare to die for a good person.

8 But God has shown us how much he loves us-it was while we were still sinners that Christ died for us!

“Benedictine spirituality is consciously designed to disarm the heart … be at peace with what has been given, at peace with what is asked, at peace with those who guide, at peace with each other, and at peace with ourselves.”

“Let those who need more, ask, and those who don’t be grateful. Let them honor the elder and love the younger. If hard or difficult things are commanded let them, if the situation cannot be changed, do what must be done. Let them not give way to anger or nurse grudges or even think of being deceitful or fail to be kind, or swear peace but think war in their hearts.” [14]

“Peace comes from not needing to control everything, and not needing to to have everything and not needing to surpass everyone and not needing to know everything and not needing to have everyone else be like me.” [15] The peace you see in the life of Christ clamors for justice so that others, like us, may take their own right places in the universe.” [16]

Enough said.

 Exercise for the next week:  Go find peace. Reread this guide. Reread your notes. Pay attention to how you and your attitudes may have changed. Write about it. Bring it back next week for the wrap-up.

Think about continuing on as a Benedictine monastery (small group) HELPING EACH OTHER CONTINUE TO FIND GOD, STABILITY AND PEACE IN AN EVER-CHANGING WORLD.  YOU KNOW – THERE AREN’T TOO MANY BETTER LIFESTYLES YOU COULD CHOOSE.

Oh, yes. Keep:

1. Reading scripture

2. Praying

3. Listening to the world

 

Week Eleven: Living St. Benedict’s Vision

 “Real spiritual wisdom knows that God is unique to every unique being. Real spiritual wisdom knows that spirituality is not  packaged and not processed and not produced for the mass market. Real spirituality is something  that brings us now in touch with God here. It does not take formulas … it takes consciousness

  The easy way out , of course, is to take the package deal. Let religious formulas substitute for spirituality. Allow others to digest God for us. The valiant thing, the committed thing, the graced thing, is to believe that we ourselves are good enough to contain God for ourselves. But we all have been taught differently than that It is time to find out where God really is for us.

Once upon a time, the story goes, a preacher ran through the streets of the city shouting, “We must put God in our lives. We must put God in our lives.”  And hearing him, an old monk rose up in the city plaza to say, “No sir, you are wrong. You see, God is already in our lives. Our task is to simply recognize that. 

 It is to the recognition of God in our own lives that the Rule of Benedict calls us.” [17]              

 


 

[1] Joan Chittister, OSB, Wisdom Distilled from the Daily – Living the Rule of St. Benedict Today, San Francisco: HarperCollins, 1990. p. 3

[2] Chittister, ch. 3

[3] Chittister, pp. 41-42

[4] Chittister, pp. 41

[5] Chittister  pp. 58-65

[6] Chittister p.65

[7] Chittister, ch.6

[8] Chittister, ch.7

[9] Chittister, ch.8

[10] Chiitister, p.125

[11] Chittister, p.135

[12] Chittister, p.138

[13] Chittister, ch.12

[14] Chittister, p.185

[15] Chittister, p.186

[16] Chittister, p.193

[17] Chittister, pp.206-207


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... or, preaching from both ends

WELL, HELLO! YOU’RE HERE.

That's too bad - I'm so sorry. Oh, well, just try to make the best of it. What you'll find here is a variety of essays and ramblings to do with things theological, social, whimsical and, sometimes, all three. I don't write to get famous - trust me, I've been told how futile that would be - but to express myself. I love to communicate and browbeat - ummm, I mean dialogue - about the things I find intriguing. Since you're here, and the door's locked, why don't you stay a while. There's a page bar under the header with links to information about us - I mean me. Don't forget to tell me what you think - in a nice way, I mean.

Readers since Jan 2009

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