Monday, September 06, 2004

A dull, mundane life...

I love these words of wisdom from the commentary on St. Benedict's Rule (Insights for the Ages):

"The person who prays for the presence of God is, ironically, already in the presence of God. The person who seeks God has already found God to some extent. 'We are already counted as God's own,' the Rule reminds us. Benedict knows this and clearly wants us to know it, as well. A dull, mundane life stays a dull, mundane life, no matter how intent we become on developing spiritually. No amount of church-going will change that. What attention to the spiritual life does change is our appreciation for the presence of God in our dull, mundane lives. We come to realize that we did not find God; God finally got our attention. The spiritual life is a grace with which we must cooperate, not a prize to be captured or a trophy to be won.

"But, the Rule implies, we have been given a grace that is volatile. To feel it and ignore it, to receive it but reject it, the paragraph suggests, is to be in a worse situation than if we had never paid any attention to the spiritual life at all. For disregard of God's good gifts, Benedict says, for refusing to use the resources we have for the upbuilding of the reign of God, for beginning what we do not intend to complete, the price is high. We are disinherited. We lose what is ours for the taking. We miss out on the life we are meant to have . We are dealt with, not as children of the owner who know instinctively that they are meant to grow into new and deeper levels of relationship here, but as hired help in the house, as people who look like they are part of the family but who never reap its real benefits or know its real nature. In failing to respond to God everywhere God is around us, we may lose the power of God that is in us."

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