Thoughts for Reflection from Benedictine & Monastic Authors

Day by Day

2013 August 19 - Turning Over Control

We live in a period in which religious practice is becoming progressively more privatized and more the object of personal choice. It is sometimes hard to give up the idea of a designer religion, in which everything is tailored to my present needs and aspirations. Delivering oneself into the hands of a community of relative strangers and asking to be formed does not seem like a very good idea. Yielding control does not come easily to me; I don’t always appreciate the fact that self-transcendence is impossible so long as the self remains in the driver’s seat. Even if I can learn to discern the difference between life-giving choices and those that lead nowhere, I am still bedeviled by deeper impulses that so often guide my actions but escape the scrutiny of my conscious mind. Even the most sincerely pious searchers after God harbor within themselves much hazardous material that, if disregarded, may eventually poison their best efforts. The fact that so many of our contemporaries do not recognize is that the higher our religious aspirations, the more we need the guidance and support of other people. If we intend merely to coast along the low roads, maybe we can do it alone. If we are heading for the mountains, the support of others is indispensable. (pages 9-10)

Strangers to the City: Reflections on the Beliefs and Values of the Rule of Saint Benedict
by Michael Casey, OSCO