“Teach me good discernment and knowledge, for I believe in Your commandments.” Psalm 119–66
A wise person once told me, “Questions unite us, answers divide us.” I have used this sound advice both in my personal and career life for many years. It has helped me navigate difficult moments in my life journey.
I have found questioning leads to a deeper understanding of one’s self and others and helps find common ground by which a positive direction can be found. Often, questions lead to more questions and there are no immediate answers. As a Benedictine, sometimes the answers do not always align with our Benedictine values. On the contrary, the answers may cause us to be stuck in a “frame of reference” of old, with a “it’s my way or the highway” sentiment. Our personal reality trumps others’ reality. Having the answer does not always guarantee this will be the right answer for those who live with us in this world.
Discernment has become a familiar word as a practicing Benedictine. It invites us to “listen” to the voice of God when faced with life situations where there are few, if any, answers to the problems in life. When one discerns, one cannot help but ruminate with questions. Questions often become a mantra or prayer to our Father asking, “What is the right path?” The process of discernment does not always lead to the right answers, but can lead to choices. And this is where our Benedictine values are essential. This is our common ground where we will find consensus with ourselves and the world around us.
May you learn to live with the questions. Blessings.
Mary S. Baier, OblSB