Monday, February 23, 2009

The First Word

Sounds are important.

The wind in the trees. The gurgle of water flowing in a small stream. The rustle of something in the underbrush. Thunder in the distance. The faint beginning of a squeak in a bearing. Each has a message. Each of these, and a myriad of other sounds, tells something. Messages that we miss when we aren’t listening.

Listen. The first word in the Rule of St. Benedict says more in truth than entire volumes written by many modern authors suggesting themselves to be spiritual directors. This is not intended to be a scathing remark. It is, at least in my mind and in the realm of my own reality, more simply a matter of fact in a syncretistic faith-world.

One of the predicaments, something that is really an inverted blessing, that I discover inherent in attempting to follow the Rule of St. Benedict is its potential for creating a desert effect. It has the potential to create an environment both within yet apart from its surrounding environs. Although it fits perfectly into any geographical setting, it concerns itself not so much with natural geographical landscapes as it does with the deep interior regions of the conscience.

There is, albeit, a distinct relationship between these that motivates and propels me toward jaunts in isolated woods and wilderness where I feel more naturally at home than in these cities and suburbs that surround me.

In the desert I make a way, in the wasteland, rivers.[1]

The parallelism seems rather obvious, the natural and spiritual ramifications.

[1] Isaiah 43:19