Mar 15, 2010

Silenced breakfast

I return once again to St. Benedict's Monastery. It has been eight weeks since my last visit and there is a fresh yet sober atmosphere welcoming my arrival. I say fresh because spring is just around the corner. The birds that decorate the grounds of the monastery are wild with song and vigor. Their music spreads through the campus and contribute sweet melodies to the strong, deep tolls of the chapel bells. The sober facet is tightly tethered to the Lenten season Throughout the liturgical year meal times are alive with conversation, during the Lenten season however meals are taken in silence. This is to encourage the sisters to pause from the chattering norm and instead reflect upon the journey to the Cross.

It was a bizarre experience I have to admit, sharing a meal in silence. I grew up in a family of 6 and the dinner table was not just a place to set your plate; but a stage to unleash your imagination. The walls would shake before our laughter and the engery soared when mom would pass the jar of her ridicoulously amazing chocolate chip cookies. It is no wonder why eating in silence this morning was uncomfortably unnatural.

This intentional silence is a gorgeous thing however. I continue to return to the monastery (and tomorrow I will be spending the day at St. John's Abbey) because I firmly believe that the rhythms by which the Monastics adhere to have significant wisdom and rich blessings to offer the Protestant community. My desire is to release myself from the piles of religious conditionings that confine the mystery of the Holy Spirit and in turn receive the gift of monastic cadance.

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