It is Monday. The day all diets begin, good intentions start, and resolutions to change our life initiate. It is also usually the day that all those good intentions quickly die after that first moment of stress. So I thought it appropriate that the title of The Revised Version of John McQuiston’s book on The Benedictine Way of Living is Always We Begin Again. I have written about the Benedictine rule before, and saw it as a sign when my good friend John gave me the latest version of McQuiston’s book when we met up in the Carolina Mountains. So perhaps, subject to my attention being diverted, I thought we might explore the Benedictine way for a few days before the school year starts and more importantly, when two a days begin.
So why do this? Well the Benedictine way forces us to explore our inner state, much like the practices of Eastern religions and Sufism, and lest you think I am diverting from my own Christian faith let’s not forget that when Christ was confronted with the question. “When will the kingdom of God come?” He answered, “The Kingdom of God is not found by looking here or looking there, for the Kingdom of God is within you.” (Luke 17:20).
Another reason why it might be in all our interest to explore the Benedictine way, is because it is a way of “being in the world.” Few of us have the luxury of living cloistered in a monastery. No, what I think we are all searching for is a “way of life.” A way of life that enables us to be persons of loving kindness, compassion, and in a caring relationship with all our neighbors despite the tremendous pressures brought on by our materialistic and complex world. The exploration of the Benedictine way is much like an exploration of Sufism or Buddhism. If it shines just a little more light, it is worth the journey. So untie your shoes and take off your socks, we are going to take a stroll down the beach.