Saturday, March 22, 2008

A Sure Path

“Do not be daunted immediately by fear and run away from the road that leads to salvation. It is bound to be narrow at the outset. But as we progress in this way of life and in faith, we shall run on the path of God’s commandments, our hearts overflowing with the inexpressible delight of love.” [Prologue 48-49]

The fear of the unknown is daunting. It keeps many souls from taking the first steps that begin a journey along a pathway that, though it is replete with uncertainties, is more certain and sure than any other. In our modern times there aren’t a lot of people traveling this pathway so there aren’t a lot of noticeable signs of foot traffic. It is, however, a well worn pathway. Many have traveled this way before us. It is a tried and true pathway that will, if one remains on it, lead to eternal safety at the end of the journey.

What we realize eternally, when we draw our final mortal breath at the end of the pathway, is certainly worth the investment of ourselves. The reward of faith and obedience, however, is not something that we have to wait for. It is something that we begin realizing early on. Although the pathway is difficult at times, it is not grueling.

There is nothing about traveling this pathway that is despairing. It may, at first, appear restricting while its tutelage refines our focus, as it causes us to pay attention to where our feet are, as it makes us mindful of who we are and how we live. These, however, are important milestones set in place to measure how far we’ve traveled, how much we’ve matured on this journey. Without these milestones being laid down as evidence of continual conversion in our lives, we can only wander about is small little circles that honestly lead no where.

In her commentary on the Rule Esther de Waal writes, “ As the sympathetic and encouraging teacher, Benedict invites the disciple by promising that the regime of this school will be a reasonable one, and that what at first may seem difficult will, in the long run, through stability and not trying to escape, become second nature. The means and the end are the same – love. If Benedict is strict at the start, the purpose is to safeguard love. But then as we progress in the way, we shall find ‘our hearts overflowing with the inexpressible delight of love’ [49] surely one of the most incomparable phrases of all time.”[1]

[1] A Life Giving Way, p. 15