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Saturday, February 28, 2009

Listen to Life

Listen. Simply, here is the heart of the Rule of St. Benedict. Listen to life. Get out of the front yard, leave the plastic ornament world, and join the adventure tour. Enter the mystery. God is still able to surprise us. God, after all, is still God, and we are not. The world is indeed full of mystery...

If we learn nothing else from St. Benedict, he would have us remember this: When the bells ring, listen. When the young speak, listen. Listen to the prayers of the poor. Listen to the baying, the singing, the praying, the mourning, the laughing. When the music plays, when the night stands still, when loss cuts into your gut, when joy lets you leap over the tallest building in a single bound, pay attention to the moment, to all the moments and all the people and every breath you take beneath the ancient sky.

It would be spiritual apartheid to suggest that God is heard only in monasteries, only among Benedictines, or only through Benedictine spirituality. The Irish speak of a tradition of "thin places." It is believed among them that there are sequestered, sacred places on earth where, if you listen very carefully, you can hear God more clearly and feel God more closely than you thought possible....

Make a habit of reminding yourself several times a day to try and be more attentive. It might be as simple as writing "Listen" into some of the empty lines of your planning book or calendar. It is often between the lines and in the empty places where we hear God.

(Taken from Benedict's Way: An Ancient Monk's Insights for a Balanced Life by Lonni Collins Pratt and Father Daniel Homan, OSB) For more on the Rule of St. Benedict, go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rule_of_St._Benedict

I started reading this devotional book, Benedict's Way, on my sabbatical in November, and as soon as I finished it, I started over. Today I finish it for a second time. I will miss it for awhile... but it launched me on a great new path of listening in the quiet and in the noise, in the profound and in the mundane, for the voice of God. I often hear Him in His Word, the Bible, but now I hear Him in birdsong, in friendship, in the news, in books, in music, in conversation... God is always talking to us. But we are rarely listening.

Next devotional I'm going to use: Listening to Your Life by Frederick Buechner. Stay tuned.

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