Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Obedience: holy responsibility -- December 15, 2009

In the modern Western world, most of us hear an average of a thousand messages a day. Some from print, but most from electronics. And the messages suggest that our bodies need to be a different shape, that our hair should be a different color or texture, that we should know different people and/or different things -- and on and on and on. These messages have an impact, which, of course, is exactly their point.

Enter Benedictine obedience (which is chapter 11). Joan Chittister makes the case that obedience is neither about being dependent or dominated. Obedience is about listening: "obedience, in other words, lies in listening and laboring and in knowing what is required of us." (page 137)

The Benedictine rule of obedience calls for listening with the ear of the heart. To listen beneath and beyond the fabricated messages that are constant and endless. To seek to arrive at what Thomas Merton called the "point vierge"; our center, where God's presence is most deeply felt.

1 comment:

  1. I was struck by her words on the bottom of page 135. "The fact is that the person centered in Christ lives in a system in order to transcend the system. It is the ability to think thoughts other than our own, other than the past, other than the safe, other than the acceptable that will lead us eventually to truth."
    People tend to think that the clergy and the religious all need to be in lock-step but that isn’t the case at all. The most radical and un-orthodox of them all was Jesus. He redefined what it means to think on your own, think out of the box, and use the mind that God gave you to reach a far deeper and more meaningful truth.


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