Order out of chaos

Daily Reading for October 13

In its loving description of the most ordinary events like sleeping and the most ordinary objects like knives, the Rule of St. Benedict invites a rich way of seeing. Your hours of sleep continue the rhythm of the Rule, made holy by the act of consecration of your life to God. Your trip to the supermarket is a pilgrimage. Your folding and putting away the clothes is a participation in God’s ongoing act of creation, making order out of chaos. Benedictine formation is learning to see this way. . . .

Days spent in a hospital bed (few of us will escape) give glory to God; all has value, especially suffering. For the Benedictine, ordinary days—bringing the cares of home and job to prayer, and bringing the rewards of prayer to home and work—afford endless opportunities for finding the sacred in the secular; or better, for obliterating the distinction between the sacred and the secular. The sacred is pressed down and overflowing in the so-called secular. The source and summit of Benedictine life is the eucharistic liturgy, where with self-forgetfulness we can see Christ in word, in bread and wine, in the community, especially the “unimportant” and easily overlooked members of the community. Emphasis on humility in the Rule gives witness to this search for the holiness of the other in self-forgetfulness.

After a lifetime of such training in proper seeing, the Benedictine oblate at the point is ready for what T. S. Eliot calls the familiar unknown. Our eyes close in death and open to see that Face we have searched for our whole lives, often without knowing it.

From “Was Blind but Now I See” by Janice Daurio, in The Oblate Life, edited by Gervase Holdaway OSB (Collegeville, Minn.: Liturgical Press, 2008).

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