Tue 12 Jul, 2011
Tags: Benedictine Sisters, Clyde, Dayton, Feast of St. Benedict, Prayer, Sister Sean, Tucson
Yesterday, our communities in Tucson, Clyde and Dayton celebrated our founder, St. Benedict, on his Feast Day.
Actually, our observance begins during evening prayer – First Vespers – on the day before. This is a beautiful reflection give by Clyde Prioress Sister Sean:
Sometimes when we have these major solemnities or significant times in our liturgical year, I find myself sort of looking at the present in the context of the overall journey — not only our congregation in the history of monastic life, but also monastic life throughout the many generations of cultural changes. And as we all know, in this present age, there is great need for hope.
Many years ago, in San Diego, I used to do calligraphy as a hobby (the old-fashioned way before computers, with ink, pen, and parchment paper). On one of my many visits to the monastery there, Sr. Dolores asked if I would print a verse from the RB (Rule of Benedict) in calligraphy, making it about the size of a poster. Although I was still not real familiar with the RB at that time, the verse she chose has always stayed with me:
“Let them prefer nothing whatever to Christ, and may he bring us all together to everlasting life.” (RB 72:11)
That preference for Christ is our reason for being here, it is our hope. And it’s good to have special days like this to solemnly attend to that preference and celebrate it. Some days, especially these present days, it may seem like we’re racing through life, with all the busy-ness that demands our attention, and that divine preference may often get lost in all the confusion.
In stressful or difficult situations, especially when we seem to try and try, to do or be what is good or right or necessary, but we mostly seem to miss the mark, with a nagging sense of once again being a day late and a dollar short – we must never lose hope in God’s mercy. And if we never lose hope in God’s mercy, then we will truly begin to prefer nothing whatever to Christ.
The road we’re on has many curves and turns. And Benedict urges us to run on this path because it does lead to eternal life. We need to run – maybe not so much with the sense of a stopwatch and time that’s about to run out, as true as that may be, but more with a sense of “let’s give it all we’ve got!” enthusiasm in this present moment or situation. All those curves and turns in the road are where we fell short – but got back on track, and once again began to celebrate the journey.
To prefer nothing whatever to Christ is really more than our usual sense of “preferences.” It’s a grace-filled way of being that we continue to strive for. Gradually, it becomes the way we approach one another, even all of life. In that grace-filled moment when we bring this wholehearted preference for Christ, this way of being, into our very ordinary daily life, there is a touch of Paradise.
As we once again begin this solemn celebration of our Holy Father St. Benedict, may each one of us receive from His fullness, grace upon grace, and preferring nothing whatever to Christ, may He bring us all together to everlasting life.
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