We have been studying chapter four of our Rule with Sr. Manuela, OSB for two whole days. Her wisdom about Benedict's Rule shines through her study and reflection on the chapter about "the tools for good works" and it has been challenging me a great deal.
In verses 20-21 of the Rule, Benedict writes that "Your way of acting should be different from the world's way, the love of Christ must come before all else." This may sound simple for a nun, but living our monastic way in today's world can be quite the challenge. Manuela explained that we should think of these two verses as "not a NO to the world, but a YES to Christ." In this way, we are living out of a choice of active love. We work and live in an increasingly secular world, but it is a chance to share our faith and monastic heritage with those we meet everyday. This allows me to affect change on the world through my monastic living and sharing. The challenge comes when I must carefully look to see how I am living in the world. Yes, I e-mail, blog, and facebook; these are not bad things, but how I use them to enrich and share my monastic life with the sisters of my community could bring blessing or curse. Ah...you see the challenge.
Sister reminded us that this challenge is not for monastics alone, but all Christians are called to choose Christ before all else as part of our baptism. So, I wonder what would happen if we all began to take a second look at our we were able to bring change to the world through the way we live? Mighty deep thoughts during my siesta time here in Rome!