Tuesday, May 22, 2007

wisdom from Benedict and Joan

Part of my practice recently has involved daily readings from Joan Chittister's commentary on the Rule of Benedict. I was particularly struck by her words this morning:

A willingness to be formed is the basis of formation. Anything else is fraud.....you can't get the spiritual life by waiting for it. You have to reach for it. Read things that gild your soul. Turn your mind to prayer, to a conscious response to the God present here and now. Remember who you are.
The ancients considered the gift of tears as a sign of God's great favour. If we could only be always sorry for what we have done to distort life in the past then perhaps we could be safeguarded against distorting it in the future. Regret is a gift long gone in contemporary culture but critically needed perhaps. In this society , guilt has disappeared and sorrow is labeled unhealthy. As a people, then, we separate one action from another in such a way that patterns escape us and pitfalls elude us. We simply stumble on, from one event to the next, unaware of the dangers in it for us, uncaring of our past behaviours, unfeeling of the callouses on our hearts.
Life, Benedict implies, is a tapestry woven daily from yesterday's threads. The colours don't change, only the shapes we give them. Without the past to guide us, the future itself may succumb to it.

No comments: