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Here are selected quotes from Jonathan Linman's meditations on "Benedictine Spirituality and the Modern World" at the 2008 silent retreat.

Meditation I - Introduction

    1. Benedictine spirituality saves us in the chaos of the middle ages; it may save us again in turmoil of the 21st century.
    2. Seeing the beautiful setting of the Benedictine monastery on the Pacific coast, said "If this is poverty, I want to see chastity."
    3. There is a central theme for Benedict of balance, nothing on the extremes; among and between work and rest, prayer and study, solitude and community, speech and silence.
    4. Balance is something you never formally achieve.
    5. Ordinary routine is sacred, holy; not momentous, but mundane.
    6. A monk's response to "what do you do here?" "We fall down; we get up; we fall down, we get up," again and again; it is the jagged path of life.

Meditation II - Solitude and Community

    1. The shadow side of solitude is loneliness; the shadow side of community is the crowd.
    2. There is a dimension of individuality and solitude even in the midst of community and relationships Even in the blending, the mystery exists
    3. Solitude is not an escape. Sometimes it is an encounter with our demons (e.g., the temptations of Christ.)
    4. We can't feed others unless we ourselves are fed.
    5. We live in a very divided time; we need to reclaim our connections to one another.
    6. When going deeper down in silence to the "interiority," the sense of love--for others, community, and in relationships-- re-emerges.
    7. You may find community is unexpected places, such as the inner city neighborhood, in the midst of crime and poverty.
    8. Death and life are the power of the tongue; seek more silence; give the gift of greater silence.

Meditation III - Obedience
    1. In the modern age, obedience is not something we are comfortable with.
    2. Obedience is auditory; there is a theme of listening in obedience.
    3. God says "obey My voice;" this is a radical listening.
    4. Lectio Divina: sacred reading-- a way of engaging the scriptures at a level of meditation: read, meditate, pray, be silent.
    5. Obedience is willingness-- deep and joyful response; not will-less-ness (apathy) or will-full-ness (stubborn refusal.)

Meditation IV - Humility

    1. There is a negative side to humility: the sense of humiliation; to be forcefully brought low. It can also be used to maintain servitude.
    2. To engage in humility is to be human (L. humulus)-- to be humane to ourselves and others.
    3. There is a lightness in humility. Humor. Not taking ourselves too seriously; laughing with each other, not at each other.
    4. For Paul, the highest is made low so that God is glorified. The meaning of glory is turned upside-down.
    5. Of Benedict's twelve degrees of humility, fear of God and an awareness of our own mortality is the highest.

Meditation V - Hospitality:

    1. We "contract out" hospitality in the modern age. Hospitality is done for us. We need to make it more personal and direct in our lives.
    2. Hospitality is entertaining angels unawares (Heb. 13:2) We are all guests of Christ.

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Document last modified on: 03/14/2008

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