Day Eighteen – A Continuous Call
Question: The published version of the Rule makes much of how it might be used by Christians in other walks of life, with several pages of suggestions for how even some of the specifically monastic chapters might be appropriated. What is your experience of using the Rule with retreatants, directees, and other people who come to you for counsel?
Br. Geoffrey Tristram: One of the things I so appreciate about the depth of thought represented by the Rule is its application to virtually any form of Christian life. In the first place, it removes any possibility of a false distinction between monastics and other Christians, as though the religious life is for some kind of spiritual elite. Virtually every chapter of the Rule has something to say to ordinary Christians because the end is the same for all of us: the experience of larger life. Christ is always calling us to something more. This is why Father Benson said that Jesus’ call to us is continuous—it never ends and we never arrive.
Dear Brother Geoffrey Tristram,
Greetings in Christ! How truly wonderful to be able to say that.
Thank you for welcoming dialogue!
I am surprised at myself that I am writing. I thank you for your reflection but I have a different response to Father Benson’s words of ” Jesus call to us is continuous – it never ends and we never arrive.” I like to add we do arrive, metaphorically in the sense of arriving at a destination, a cherished goal. We will continue to follow Jesus’ call, but the journey is now different because of a grace granted.
Allow me to make this concrete. My son texted me in response and signed Love before his name. A strong focused introvert, there is no redundancy in what he says and I am jubilant at this sign of love returned. So, yes we arrive at moments of wonderful truths that echo Christ’s love for us. Their childhood was very hard and for me there is a sense of atonement, of reconciliation.
I acknowledge that even knowing God’s love so bountifully given me through my life’s experiences, I have become a curmudgeon (phonetic spelling) and I resent the word never. For me it casts a shadow on the gift of acknowledging God’s gift of beauty in this moment. The sheer beauty of our earthly life is more poignant following a presentation on astronomy and the consistency of expanding gases (though beautiful) of star systems.
Obviously one thing I am giving up for Lent is to keep my thoughts to myself.
My regards, and oops there is a lightness while also a discipline, to a relationship of brothers and sisters in Christ, Doris