Skip to main content

Members on a Short Journey

Friday, August 2, 2024
Chapter 51

If members are sent on some errand and expect to return to the monastery that same day, they must not presume to eat outside, even if they receive a pressing invitation, unless perhaps the prioress or abbot has ordered it. Should they act otherwise, they will be excommunicated.

Benedictine spirituality, this chapter implies, is not a set of rules; it is a way of life. Being out of the monastery does not relieve the monastic of the obligation to be what we say we are-- simple, centered in God, in search of higher things. What life demands from us is the single-minded search for God, not a series of vacations from our best selves. The point is a clear one: being a religious is full-time identity; being business people does not give us the right to do during the week what we tell ourselves on Sunday that we shun; being American does not give us the right to be less Christian in order to be more patriotic; being rich does not give us the right to forget the poor. No Christian ever has the right to be less than the Gospels demand of them wherever they are.