Benedictine Harmony and Balance: Day 5

By Sister Stefanie MacDonald, OSB

“Benedictine harmony and balance require a respect for time. … Time is to be spent in prayer, in sacred reading, in work, and in community participation … It is public as well as private; it is private as well as public. It is balanced.” (Joan Chittister, OSB;  Wisdom Distilled from the Daily)

In other words, no one thing should consume our lives! We should never spend an inordinate amount of time on, say, watching TV or scrubbing the floor. All dimensions of life should be in balance, making up the whole. They should fit together as a puzzle (which is what Sr. Jackie and I are piecing together in this picture!). And each piece, when of the proper size and weight, should help make us fully alive.

Sr. Antoinette referenced a childhood teeter-totter in her talk on balance. That is, we will have our ups and downs. We will give more weight to one thing than another, and find we need to correct it. Are we spending too much time working, for example, and not enough just … being?

Balancing life’s teeter-totter – just like the one in the park – takes work, patience and consideration. And when we get off balance, we need to first recognize it, and next, be patient with ourselves. Finally, we need to discover where the weight has shifted and make the adjustments necessary to reestablish our balance.

Sr. Antoinette asked us to look at our calendars, to see what a regular week looks like in our lives. I’ll ask you to do the same thing. Here are the questions, then, to ask yourself about what you see:

How do I feel about the balance in my life?

If it is out of balance what do I need to do to get balance back?

Sister Joan says, “Benedictine spirituality asks us to spend our time well.”

How are you doing with yours?

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