Thursday, July 9, 2009

Living In The World

Creating and maintaining a personal environment that is conducive to the goals of the monastic expression of Christian experience is not an easy proposition. Here, in the world outside the monastic enclosure, life is pockmarked by a myriad of demanding inconsistencies and variables, a continually changing dimension where the institution and actualization of the discipline of monastic expression finds itself constantly challenged.

It is, however, within the challenges of this changing dimension that I endeavor to lay claim to the scriptural life-ideals and historic traditions prescribed by St. Benedict and those holy examples whom he emulated. It is here in the midst of the madness that compels a world living on its head that I endeavor, as an Oblate of St. Benedict, to enter into the discipline and peace of Benedictine spirituality - something that I’ve discovered to be both a curative and a preventative for my own spiritual ills.

I do this, first of all, for the sake of my own salvation and sanity and, secondly, as a piece of the fruit growing from this planting, to present to that portion of the world, represented by my own concentric circles of influence, something of a model for living that is representative of its parent model.[1] I have to often remind myself that people are examining my life before paying any attention to what I am saying. The Master of Montecassino said so much of himself.[2] How can I think otherwise about myself?

I think it is an understatement to say that this is a terrific task. Its largeness, at least in my opinion, lies in the Benedictine aspect of pursuing a continual, deeper, and more complete conversion toward Christ-likeness – a code of life that seems to be foreign to the minds and lifestyles of modernites drawn by the attractive influence of amoralistic humanism.

To choose to genuinely and objectively live “as Christ” in this world, one that is diabolically opposed to the ideals inherent in Christ’s life among us, may not necessarily mean a sudden and bloody end to us. There are, thankfully, still civil laws about such as that. We do set ourselves up though and it does, however, involve embracing the degrees of white-martyrdom that are certain to ensue experientially embracing, as totally as humanly possible, the life-example of Christ and that of his disciple St. Benedict.[3]

After all, not all people are people of faith. And, for that matter, fewer and fewer people of faith have any understanding of Benedict’s monastic spirituality.

[1] Guidelines For Oblates of St. Benedict, Constitution, para. 4
[2] RB 2
[3] Luke 23:31