Lessons Learned in a Benedictine Monastery

In the quietness of Conception Abbey, I think God tends to work on people.  He did on me anyway.  After my usual daily duties were removed, there wasn’t much to be done besides seeking the face of God and worshiping.  I went away for rest and retreat, and found the abundance of God as He fashions me from broken to whole.  I believe He laughs with delight as He sees what He’s making of me.

I wrote page upon page during my two days away, so I know more can be said than what I’ll offer here today.  But for today, a summary of highlights:

1) One word: Jesus.  Or shall we say one Word?  He is everywhere — in the words of the chants, in pictures, on the faces of the people around me, in the space out by the lake.

2) The rituals of daily worship — five times to sing psalms together with the monks — mark the day for its true purpose.  Each of the three meals comes after a worship service, after the True Bread has been savored.

3) This evangelical has made unfair assumptions about Catholics.

4) Part of the Rule of St. Benedict is hospitality: “All guests who present themselves are to be welcomed as Christ.”  Being valued in such a manner of heart-hospitality really makes me want to go home and love my children as the precious little people they are — people with feelings — rather than dismissing them, ordering them about, or speaking in a clipped tone to them.

5) Monks are humans too.  Forgive one and gain a brother.

6) When Jesus has done it all, there is no to-do left, no lingering need for my particular achievements.  There is only the dance of the redeemed — Go and tell the Good News!   We enter the daily only to dance out His love.

7) Step away to the quiet long enough and you may find your true place.  As for me, my heart loudly called me home to my family.

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