Called to grow

Chapter 3 of the Rule of St Benedict, "Summoning the community for counsel," raises a question about the life of the monastery generally: namely, what are we for? In light of the answer to that, do we undertake movement, action, decision-making for the sake of carrying out a discerned direction of the Holy Spirit in line with our understood end? Or do we undertake things because it seems somehow threatening if there is nothing forward-looking in the hopper, where activity equals life?

What is the difference between stagnation, and a finely-balanced stasis that takes into account the space necessary for the active work of awaiting, allowing, accepting, and attending? And what is the difference between activity for activity’s sake, and that undertaken as response to a divine summons?

In answer, we have as a grace and a guide to our development the teaching of the rule that is meant to help us grow into real human beings in the likeness of Jesus. Our work is to remain receptive and sensitive to the questioning that the rule provides as to whether we are, individually or collectively, responding appropriately to divine promptings; or on the other hand, doing everything possible, from evasion all the way to unconstructive and defiant contention, to avoid the work of transformation on God’s own terms.

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