January 7, May 8, September 7
And so we are going to establish
a school for the service of the Lord.
In founding it we hope to introduce nothing harsh or burdensome.
But if a certain strictness results from the dictates of equity
for the amendment of vices or the preservation of charity,
do not be at once dismayed and fly from the way of salvation,
whose entrance cannot but be narrow (Matt. 7:14).
For as we advance in the religious life and in faith,
our hearts expand
and we run the way of God’s commandments
with unspeakable sweetness of love (Ps. 118:32).
Thus, never departing from His school,
but persevering in the monastery according to His teaching
we may by patience share in the sufferings of Christ (1 Peter 4:13)
and deserve to have a share also in His kingdom.
This is it. We have the invitation. Benedict offered the cost-benefit analysis. We have been warned of the consequences. Are we going to start the course, do the homework, allow the Rule to be more important than our own personal wishes, desires and egos? I ask this of myself all the time.
Courtesy, etiquette and non-violent communication require that one writes in terms of the first person: my thoughts, my feelings, my values, etc. Sometimes it feels quite egotistical as if what I think, feel, believe is more important than what God has to say to me. I cannot tell you how much I wish to dissolve into God, to have Him speak through every word, act in every deed.
What choice is there, then, but to enter the school? Begin the work again? Identify with Christ? This is my choice. What God has given to me, I offer back to Him for His use and disposition.