“The Rule of Benedict is concerned with life: what it’s about, what it demands, how to love it. And it has not failed a single generation.” —Joan Chittister in The Rule of Benedict: A Spirituality for the 21st Century (Crossroad, 2010), p. 2.
Brother Michael Gallagher, OSB, spoke at last weekend’s Community of Hope Retreat about evaluating our Benedictine Rule of Life. He asked us to consider what was the good news our religion talks about. His belief is that the good news is that we are one with God. We have been loved into life by God. God calls us constantly in order to maintain that connection. How do we maintain it?
Michael then asked us to carry with us a pad on which to write down for one week everything we did on an hourly basis. That sounded like a daunting task. At the very least we would get some ideas of where we were spending our energy; how well and when we were eating; how often we listened to the news; how much time we were spending with family; and how much work we were required to do at home. This assignment reminded me of looking at our checkbook or credit card report to see where we are spending our energy and our money.
Next he recommended we put on our calendar for each day a time for morning prayers. The time spent and the type of prayer were not as important as doing it at the same time each day. Then he asked us to schedule a time for evening prayers—again, the same time each day. Lastly, he wanted us to write in a regular time at which to eat our meals each day. I am beginning to get his message. God calls us to faithfulness. If we make an effort to invite God to be a part of a regular rhythm in our lives, we will find that God connection.
Michael promises us that we do not have to worry as much about what we do in between the meals and prayers. God fills in the blanks: we will be led, especially through the interruptions in our lives. Michael did make one suggestion regarding prayer, and that was that we include prayers of gratitude. My experience is that gratitude is the holy stickiness that can hold our life together. Well, now we are called to more adventure, a new look at our rule of life. More will be revealed.