Thursday, August 1, 2013

Why I am a Benedictine

Four years ago I became a Benedictine. Here's what I mean. I joined a religious community called the Company of Jesus. As a member of the company, I do not live in a monastery. What I do is join with other members spread all over the globe who are committed to living the way of St. Benedict.

You may have heard of St. Benedict. He is called the father of western monasticism because he wrote a rule - a guidebook - for how to organize monasteries that has been in use for 1500 years. That's a pretty good track record!!

I'm a bad Benedictine. I struggle to do all the things we agree to do as members of Company of Jesus. However, I am committed to be Benedictine. Why? Because the way of Benedict is a non-heroic spirituality.

You see, I have this problem. I find myself wanting to be the hero of my life story. There is a problem with this, however. I have committed my life to Jesus and, well, he thinks HE is the hero of my life story (and he is). For me, being a Benedictine is a kind of cure; a kind of recovery program for my tendency to think too highly about my ability to anything apart from Christ. I actually think one of the reasons God has me be a Benedictine is because I am bad at it. This makes sense actually, because the first thing Benedict exhorts the readers of his rule to is ... humility.

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