For the past 5 weeks, I’ve been wearing a long, rigid brace to protect and immobilize a fractured wrist to enable it to heal. Yesterday, I started therapy to eventually recover full strength and use of my fingers, hand and wrist. It’s going to take many weeks before I can regain so much lost ground. It’s surprising (and frightening!) how quickly flexibility and strength are lost with disuse. I see a spiritual parallel in my own life!
St. Benedict described the monastery as a workshop with many useful tools for the spiritual craft. God’s grace is crucial, but I must exert the effort daily to use those tools. When I don’t, my relationship with God and everyone else begins to resemble my wrist that is currently unable to bend whatsoever without considerable pain.
My occupational therapist warned me that I may grow weary of the slow healing progress for my wrist with such great effort and struggle needed. So it is, I’ve found, with monastic life as well. In our Benedictine community, though, we encourage and support one another to continue faithfully and joyfully in this spiritual workshop together.
–Sister Sara Aiden Burress, OSB