Yesterday we celebrated the Passing of our Holy Father St. Benedict, a major feast day for us and for our entire Benedictine family around the world. It gave me pause to stop and think about this wonderful heritage, this Benedictine treasure box overflowing with riches and jewels.
Monasteries have long been centers of learning and art, and our love for God often expresses itself in works of beauty. Yet these are not the treasures to which I refer. Rather, our spiritual heritage is our true treasure. St. Benedict left us a spiritual legacy that has sustained centuries of monastic men and women who have gathered to seek God in communities large and small, urban and rural, in times of warfare and peace, in the extravagance of springtime and the barrenness of darkest winter.
Last night during Compline we listened yet again to a reading from the Rule of St. Benedict. Our daily reading from the Rule is like pulling a jewel from a treasure chest to examine, explore, and hopefully don as spiritual apparal. This morning, I had a similar sensation during Lauds as the words of the Psalms unfolded like sunlight on the morning horizon – each word and phrase a treasure to behold.
We are blessed with a rich and treasured heritage. Yet it is not merely heritage – a dusty box of heirlooms, if you will. It is a tradition that is alive and flourishing, borne along from generation to generation through the wisdom of our elders, on the wings of our desire for God, and in our day to day living of the tradition through daily work, prayer, and life within community.
These two photos are from Vespers of All Souls in the monastery cemetery 2009.