There is a line in our Rule of Life which, over the years, has become increasingly important to us. Indeed it has become one of our guiding principles, so much so that during the planning and actual renovation of the monastery, we referred to it repeatedly. However, having said that, I am not sure that when we wrote the Rule, we realized then that it was, or would become, so important and central to our lives. The line appears in the chapter on Hospitality and says quite simply, that our houses have simple beauty.
As we know, there is a great deal of ugliness in the world, most if not all of it, if I can make a sweeping statement, created by humanity. The ugliness of the destruction of creation, as it is destroyed solely for our benefit, and the ugliness of the sin of poverty, racism, and war is all around us, and so places that are dedicated to simple beauty are a refuge for the heart, and mind, and soul.
Since about the age of 9 I have been an avid reader of mystery stories, good ones, not the lurid ones. I believe that over the years that habit has helped me to become more sensitive to the Mystical Literature of the Bible.
Today’s first reading from the Wisdom of Solomon certainly fits into that category. I believe that the meaning of most mystical literature can be seen more clearly by contemplation rather than by reason.