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This is the question St. Benedict asks the newcomer interested in monastic life (Prologue to the Rule, 15).
St. Benedict’s Abbey invites you to ponder that question at a retreat at the Abbey Church which will also be livestreamed and available for playback (except the Liturgy of the Hours) for those out of town making a retreat-in-place. Start on Wednesday of Holy Week or later — click here for more information or to register.
That question is from Psalm 34, the psalm used by the early Church as a catechesis to prepare new candidates for baptism, to communicate to them the experience they were being invited into in the communion of believers- the experience of the resurrection: Taste and see that the Lord is good. Blessed is the man who hopes in him.
So, in a way, this question is the criterion St. Benedict gives for the vocation, and for the whole Christian experience: Are you the one who loves life and wants to see good days? He continues, “If you hear this and your answer is ‘I do,’ God then directs these words to you.” St. Benedict invites us to take this indomitable need of our heart seriously, as the way we can recognize and follow what God is proposing to us through the events of our life.
At first glance, the many events of the past year may make such an invitation seem naive. But, in fact, the answer to this question is at the heart of true stability in all things- the desire now to experience true life, to know true joy, in all circumstances. To stay with it, with an expectation that this life will be revealed in time by the One who gave me this question. Not later. Not when the vaccine is distributed, or when this or that problem is solved. Now. Behold, now is a very acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.
We invite you during these privileged days of Lent and Holy Week to join with others at the Abbey and, as St. Benedict invites us, inclina aurem cordis; to draw near with the ear of our heart and listen for the root of this unconquerable life and peace we desire, so that, as he concludes the Rule, “He may bring us all together to everlasting life.”