Six months into this year of discernment and I recognize a few things. The first is that the “call” was very distinct, as in reading/praying “With my whole heart I seek thee,” with those words transforming into an interior voice, larger, clearer than mine, harmonizing back at me, and bringing with it a particular lightness of joy at the same time a depth of seriousness and sincerity.
Fumbling: I may still be fumbling, but closer to discovering the call is real. There is something to be said for “Fiat,” as in a complete “yes,” but there are steps…steps which, I think, are outlined in the Rule.
Fiat is not the same as throwing oneself, willy nilly, into the academic approach of responding to the call with a Study Program and examination at year’s end.
This is more about Community than I may have recognized at the starting gate. If this is a Way to Christ, it is a joint effort. This brings a reality and solidity to prayers-for-others. It is easy to leave others as abstract thoughts, in which case prayers for them can be “said with the head,” in the secret hope that God won’t notice it’s lip service only.
Anyway, I’m beginning to discern what I believe calls for discernment, as in can Benedict’s way be the way for me with the values of monastic life becoming prayer in and of themselves? Right now I feel this calls for becoming an interface, a permeable fence between the Monastery Community and the community of family, friends, and things-going-on-in-the world.
I think I went on retreat much like that woman in today’s Gospel who touched the hem of Christ’s garment…having spent years looking for a “cure” to the what-all and whatever-existence-takes-out-of-you while you seek proof of truth, He recognizes the tug and says “here is your life back.”
He does this while he’s on his way to literally bring a twelve-year-old girl back from the dead. It’s a highly personal encounter with the hem-grabber, and a Community event with the girl and her family. It’s everything all at once.
I trust in the excitement and energy again, which is what I felt when the hammer of “Become an Oblate!” struck me but before I had the discipline to slow down, get steady, do one thing at a time, and do it in the spirit of the Rule.
So, yes, I think one thing I have discerned is the need for stability, and that by way of praying “with the monks” throughout the day. Vigils and Lauds are two anchors dropped, at the start.
Work: Simplicity sounds simple. But, steadily, I can start to unload the extraneous stuff, both material and psychological/emotional. Here’s where trust plays a part.