Brueggemann, Benedict: Christians living in the new year
“The gift of Christmas contradicts everything we sense about our own life. Our world feels unsavable, and here is the baby named Jesus, ‘Save.’ Be ready to have your sense of the world contradicted by this gift from God.” Walter Brueggemann, Devotions for Advent, Celebrating Abundance, p. 67. Westminster John Knox Press 2017.
We listen to the news. We become depressed. Every day something more terrible happens. We feel helpless, powerless. The gift of love, the gift of Christmas does bring hope.
I keep thinking about St. Benedict. The world is crashing all around him. Rome is being destroyed by Germanic invaders who have taken over his country. He tries to escape and become a hermit. It doesn’t work. He joins a community. He decides the community needs a new way to live together in love and consideration for others and develops The Rule of Benedict.
This of course is an over simplification of this part of history.
The beginning of the prologue to the rule is, Listen with the ear of your heart. This is the call I hear this Christmas season. We are being called to a more intentional living of the rule of Benedict in community.
I am presently beginning a review of the rule for a presentation for Community of Hope training and for Daughters of the King in the next few weeks. Community of Hope is a pastoral care program for non-ordained persons that is steeped in Benedictine Spirituality. The Daughters of the King are women in our congregation called to an intentional life of prayer. I give thanks to friends who decided on studying Benedictine spirituality in these two programs for the new year. They may think we are helping to train others. Maybe so, but in reality, we are all re-training in both of these programs for an intentional living in love and prayer in the coming new year.