I’ve been praying for some time over words of our founder, Richard Meux Benson: “If only we can show people that we are living upon a truth and loving it, they will soon catch the life.” ‘They will soon catch the life.’ Life is something that we have been experiencing here at the Monastery in new and wonderful ways. This Easter has been so full of new life for us, and it’s been mirrored in the trees, which have been in flower for such a long a time here in Massachusetts. In the same way, I feel that we are in a season now, in our Community, full of new life and hope. Our world is really flowering.
The English word “despair” comes from the Latin desperare from de- “without” + sperare “to hope.” Without hope, life can easily be too much, and despair comes knocking at the door. Hope is not optimism. Optimism is a mere gloss on the surface. The traditional symbol for hope is an anchor. An anchor will hold you fast and keep you from drifting, and yet, pulled up and stowed, an anchor also travels with you as you sail ahead in life. Hope is a “steadfast anchor of the soul,” we read in the Letter to the Hebrews 6:19. Hope is something that rests deeper in the water than what happens on the stormy surface of life. For Saint Paul, all that we do and every step we take is underlined by hope. We live by hope, he reminds us. Most everything else in life is fleeting, and yet “faith, hope, and love abide.”1 Cor. 13:13
One sunny summer day as a young boy I experienced a miracle. I was holding a small magnifying lens, examining a flower petal. Suddenly the flower leapt on fire. I was shocked! In a profoundly simple way, I witnessed the power of captured light: enormous. All light emanates from God. In the Genesis creation account, God creates light on the first day – “Let there be light”; however it is not until the fourth day that God creates the sun, moon, and stars (Gen.1:1-19). God’s light precedes our light. This is such an important reminder when you are living through a cloudy day or stormy season of life: how to capture, store, focus, reflect God’s light, the light of life. Several practices are helpful.