Sunday, July 29, 2012

A Lifestyle Worthy of the Gospel, Part I

...we have been returning to the notion that the specificity of the Benedictine vocation needs to be expressed by a distinctive philosophy and lifestyle, each supporting the other.  Beliefs and values are not much use unless and until they are embodied in practice.  Practice, be it ever so holy, can become self-defeating unless the values it represents are internalized and appropriated.

We have seen that fidelity to many Benedictine values is at odds with many of the priorities we have acquired in the course of growing up.  Typical among the substitutions that we are expected to weather in the process of growing into monastic life are the following:
  • stability instead of mobility;
  • humility instead of ambition, status-seeking, and pride;
  • patience instead of anger, recrimination, and revenge;
  • obedience instead of autonomy;
  • common order instead of spontaneity;
  • working without remuneration instead of being paid;
  • discipline instead of relaxation;
  • poverty instead of affluence;
  • chastity instead of sexual liberation;
  • celibacy instead of family life;
  • silence instead of communication;
  • abstemiousness in food and drink instead of satisfaction;
  • early rising instead of sleeping late;
  • early to bed instead of partying.
from Strangers to the City
by Michael Casey

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