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Members Working at a Distance or Traveling

Thursday, August 1, 2024
Chapter 50

Members who work so far away that they cannot return to the oratory at the proper time--and the prioress or abbot determines that is the case--are to perform the Opus Dei where they are, and kneel out of reverence for God.

So too, those who have been sent on a journey are not to omit the prescribed hours but to observe them as best they can, not neglecting their measure of service.

The Sanskrit writes: Necessity changes a course but never a goal. Benedictine spirituality--flexible, sensible, realistic at all times--sets loud, clear goals but models a number of ways to achieve them. Perhaps there is no surer proof of Benedict's awareness that spirituality is neither a formula nor a straightjacket than this particular chapter. Benedict values nothing more than community prayer, the Opus Dei. In other chapters he organizes it minutely and schedules it for seven times a day. "Nothing," he writes "is to be preferred to the Work of God." And yet, when the ideal is confronted by the real, Benedict opts for the sanctification of the real rather than the idealization of the holy. If there is work to be done at a great distance from the chapel, the monastic is to see that it's done. Holiness is not an excuse to avoid responsibility. Spirituality is not an escape from life. Spirituality leavens life. Spirituality is what stabilizes us in the middle of confusion and gives us energy to go on doing what must be done even when the rest of life taxes and fatigues and separates us from our own resources.