What continues to inspire me about the Brothers is their dual witness to their monastic Rule and discipline along with their active engagement with the outside world. They practice their Christian faith not only in community among themselves but also reach out to the community at large.
For those Christians like myself who struggle to live by a personal rule, I always regard their steadfast example as my template for what might be for myself. As I learn from these Lenten “A Living Tradition” offerings about their on-going struggles and triumphs living with their Rule, I feel better about my often inadequate attempts to maintain my own personal rule. Volunteering at the Bedford Veterans Administration Medical Center has helped me come to appreciate that the sacred is often experienced in the simple acts of everyday living: the glory of a sunrise, a friendly smile, the offered push of a wheelchair bound veteran, the friendly greeting in the passageway. Thanking God for these precious moments as they happen throughout the day has become an important part of my own personal rule. Acknowledging His presence in the simplest things is comforting to me whose busyness tends to trump practicing contemplation and silence.
The interplay of simplicity and engagement within the monastic routine is a reality I always try to keep before me. As I know that the Brothers struggle daily to live within the confines of their Rule amidst the demands of the outside world, I take heart that my struggles are a tiny reflection of their experience too.