As we celebrate the Feast of St. Benedict (and also the anniversary, for many of us, of our first vows), it’s appropriate to remember our monastic promises and core values.
Spiritual writer Ron Rolheiser gives us much to consider on the subject. In his book, The Holy Longing, he identifies the principle obstacles of the practice of mindfulness, a critical Benedictine value and precursor to stability.
Rolheiser says our self-indulgence, restlessness, greed for things and experience and lifestyle, our busyness and overextension, our perpetual tiredness, our laziness, and our perpetual distraction with sports, sit-coms, and talk shows lead us away from mindfulness. We might also add computer games and internet surfing.
Indeed, Rolheiser calls these the antimystical forces of our time.
What are the mystical forces, then? What are the practices we should be choosing as we continue on our chosen monastic path?
Benedict provides the answer.
In his Rule, 3 fundamental activities shape the day. These are liturgical prayer, holy reading, and manual labor.
Together the daily activities provide the foundation for cultivating mindfulness of God in all circumstances.
Our regular commitment to lectio divina and nourishing spiritual reading puts us into direct dialogue with God.
And our daily work is our gift to all God’s creation. Our work – whether at a desk or in the dining room – is an expression of our love for God and one another.
Let us pray that it continue to provide the foundation we all need to maintain stability for another day, another year, another lifetime.