When it comes to life lessons, wouldn’t it be nice if there was some sort of course selection process and we could just hand-pick the lessons that we would like to learn? Or maybe we could choose to just audit some of our life lessons and let them kind of slide through our consciousness like water off a duck. No grades. No papers to write. No attendance taken. No worries.
But life just isn’t like that. And God isn’t like that either. Our dear Lord knows us better than we know ourselves and He knows the lessons that we’re ready for and the courses that would best keep us traveling toward our heavenly home.
The monastery is a good place for such lessons to unfold. There we are not alone in being students, nor are we alone in sometimes stumbling through the lessons that come our way. Our Sisters are right there with us, both supporting us as we learn and grow, and in turn needing our support as they learn.
Sometimes our Sisters are the ones challenging us, seeing in us gifts that we never knew were there, abilities we never imagined or talents lying hidden under the stone we’d never bothered to turn.
This summer at Saint John’s, I’m learning at least as much outside the classroom as inside – mostly lessons about myself. I didn’t get to choose these classes as I did my academic courses, and some of them I’d just as soon not be taking. But St. Benedict calls the monastery a “school of the Lord’s service” and I have committed myself to being life-long student in it, no matter the class.
Even though I cannot hand-pick my life lessons as if from a course listing, and I certainly can’t audit as if I were a by-stander in my own journey to God, I know the monastery is the right school for me. In Christ, I have the truest of teachers, in the Rule of St. Benedict the surest of guides, and in my monastic community at Sacred Heart the very best of classmates. May Christ lead us together to everlasting life.
Happy Feast of St. Benedict to everyone!