Stabilis is derived from the Latine word stare, meaning to stand, to stand up, or to be still. From this comes the figurative meaing to be firm, to stand fast, to endure, to persevere, to be rooted. The essential feature is resting on a solid foundation, fixed by strong and unshakable roots. In a nutshell, stability is the action of staying put, remaining steadfast and faithful to the situation in which God has placed us. It is persistently sticking with a situation, with people, and with God.
Monastic stability, as described by Benedict and as practiced by Benedictine women and men, is first and foremost a commitment to a place and a group of people in the belief that it is this place and these people who will help them find God. The English Benedictine Basil Cardinal Hume wrote this of stability:
We give ourselves to God in a particular way of life, in a particular place, with particular companions. This is our way: in this Community, with this work, with these problems, with these shortcomings. The inner meaning of stability is that we embrace life as we find it, knowing that this, and not any other, is our way to God....Stability is saying "Yes" to God's will for me in the place where I believe God has placed me and with the task that I believe God has given me to do. In this we follow Jesus, who embraced the task that God gave to him.