|Here are selected quotes from Jonathan Linman's meditations on "Benedictine Spirituality and the Modern World" at the 2008 silent retreat.
Meditation I - Introduction
- Benedictine spirituality saves us in the chaos of the middle ages; it may save us again in turmoil of the 21st century.
- Seeing the beautiful setting of the Benedictine monastery on the Pacific coast, said "If this is poverty, I want to see chastity."
- 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.
- Balance is something you never formally achieve.
- Ordinary routine is sacred, holy; not momentous, but mundane.
- 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
- The shadow side of solitude is loneliness; the shadow side of community is the crowd.
- There is a dimension of individuality and solitude even in the midst of community and relationships Even in the blending, the mystery exists
- Solitude is not an escape. Sometimes it is an encounter with our demons (e.g., the temptations of Christ.)
- We can't feed others unless we ourselves are fed.
- We live in a very divided time; we need to reclaim our connections to one another.
- When going deeper down in silence to the "interiority," the sense of love--for others, community, and in relationships-- re-emerges.
- You may find community is unexpected places, such as the inner city neighborhood, in the midst of crime and poverty.
- Death and life are the power of the tongue; seek more silence; give the gift of greater silence.
Meditation III - Obedience
- In the modern age, obedience is not something we are comfortable with.
- Obedience is auditory; there is a theme of listening in obedience.
- God says "obey My voice;" this is a radical listening.
- Lectio Divina: sacred reading-- a way of engaging the scriptures at a level of meditation: read, meditate, pray, be silent.
- Obedience is willingness-- deep and joyful response; not will-less-ness (apathy) or will-full-ness (stubborn refusal.)
Meditation IV - Humility
- There is a negative side to humility: the sense of humiliation; to be forcefully brought low. It can also be used to maintain servitude.
- To engage in humility is to be human (L. humulus)-- to be humane to ourselves and others.
- There is a lightness in humility. Humor. Not taking ourselves too seriously; laughing with each other, not at each other.
- For Paul, the highest is made low so that God is glorified. The meaning of glory is turned upside-down.
- Of Benedict's twelve degrees of humility, fear of God and an awareness of our own mortality is the highest.
Meditation V - Hospitality:
- 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.
- Hospitality is entertaining angels unawares (Heb. 13:2) We are all guests of Christ.
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