That’s a mouthful of a title! Although the path to holiness can be lived out in other ways – marriage, singlehood – we Benedictine Sisters have chosen religious life (St. Scholastica, left, founded the women’s community to follow her twin brother’s Holy Rule, which we follow 1,500 years later).
Today, Bishop Joe – a member of a religious community himself – reflected on the promises we make in our Monastic Profession. (Sister Stefanie also reflected on the Promises today!)
1. Stability embraces monastic poverty and celibacy in its promise to seek God as community. First, monastic poverty is about simplicity. That is, things – possessions – can become a wedge between us and one another, between us and God. In that sense, they can become idols (which Scripture warns against). As part of our promise of stability, we promise to live simply, sharing our goods in common.
Second, celibacy is about selfless love and service. We often have a negative view of our sexuality, as if it isn’t a gift! It is. But for religious, our promise to live chaste and celibate lives is an invitation to love and serve all of God’s creation fully.
2. Obedience means we come together to go together to God! It’s hard, though. We all think, Of course we want to do God’s will! But we promise to live out God’s will as mediated through other human beings, and human beings are flawed! Our promise to be obedient means we promise both to listen and to hear.
3. Fidelity to the Monastic Way of Life means, simply, that we promise to remain faithful to our Sisters and our community. We promise to remain faithful to our Benedictine values. We promise to remain faithful to our communal prayers, our communal meals, our communal leisure. We promise to keep our promises.