Starting all over again….
“But, as the ancient story demonstrates, if we are not spiritual where we are and as we are, we are not spiritual at all.”
Why go so far, just to go on retreat? I ask myself over and over as I arrive here at the Monastery in Eresing Germany for my third, now annual visit. And as I sit again in the library of the Monastery I am brought back to a place where Holy Wisdom is housed within these four walls. Books and Books from many ages and times. The wisdom of many ages and eras. But in order to have access to that wisdom, the books must be taken from the shelf, dusted off, and read, digested, and internalized. God is everywhere! I really believe that. But there are times, moments, and places, where God is more easily accessible and available as we shed off our many distractions. Here in the quiet and silence of a monastic library the distractions are more internal than external.
“Benedictine spirituality says Joan Chittister, offers exactly what our times are lacking. Benedictine spirituality seeks to fill up the emptiness and heal the brokenness in which most of us live in ways that are sensible, humane, whole, and accessible to an overworked, overstimulated, overscheduled human race.”
Overworked, Overstimulated, and Over scheduled. Which of these fit me and you? The recent tragedies we have all faced in the world of terrorism and violence in Paris, Orlando, Dallas, Turkey, and about, remind me of how hard it is to assimilate what is happening both outside of me and inside of me. As I sat on the plane for 15 hours to come to this Monastery in the Heart of Bavaria and thought how will I begin to slow down now? To do so, I just focused on my breath for hours on end as I escaped the horrors we had just witnessed as a human race, once and again.
“The problem becomes discovering how to make here and now, right and holy for us. The here and now is all we have, any of us, out of which to make life worthwhile.” JC
So, here and now is where I begin. I share bits and pieces of this space, hoping that as a reader, you too will find a holy and sacred moment for yourself. It begins with silence, it begins with SLOWING DOWN, and it begins with acknowledging that our journey is far from solitary. Others join us in this walk, even of it feels alone at times.
It begins with starting all over again, right from the beginning, going to the Rule of Benedict for wisdom, praying 5 times a day in Community, experiencing the beauty of nature, and fresh air, the rain, and green pasture, even the smell of cow manure.
“The Rule of Benedict simply takes the dust and clay of every day and turns it into beauty.”
I arrive here with lots of clay and dust but on my heart. My task, if you could say there is a task in the weeks ahead is to turn the dust and clay I have accumulated in these past weeks, months, and over the last year, and turn them into something beautiful and useful.
Not that I have to do the turning, I only have to sit and wait for the potter to come and sit at the wheel and begin the sacred work of reconstruction.