You might have gathered from some of my previous blogs that I regarded entering the monastery as a Big Thing and that it can be challenging for me when the life starts to feel small. Well, I had one of those moments last week when I realized that small can be beautiful.
All through formation (the years of preparation for making perpetual profession), I recall being taught that monastic life resides in its “dailyness.” Intellectually, I could understand that, but I felt I would somehow be singled out and there would be a constant flow of special moments with, and revelations from, God. My life isn’t like that, and I think I’ve come to understand that living in community is a slow progression and that we are truly necessary to one another as means toward our goal—closer union with God.
This was my little moment of finding a pointer on the path to God in a very humdrum moment: One of the sisters in my living group wasn’t feeling well, so I took her supper up and asked whether she wanted me to get her breakfast. She said she’d just like a couple of slices of bread left in the fridge and she’d make herself some toast when she woke up. I went down to the dining room, put the bread in a little plastic bag and took it back upstairs to our living area. I got out a piece of sticky tape and a pen, wrote her name on the tape and stuck it on the bag of bread before I put it in the refrigerator.
As I looked at the name I’d written, I had a sudden moment of understanding: This is such a tiny thing to do, but it’s a little act of love and care, and these small opportunities cross my path repeatedly every single day. Okay, I’m not saving humanity on the world stage but, really, most of life is made up of the small acts of daily life. Life is mostly humdrum but that doesn’t mean it can’t be holy.
I think key to my mini-insight is an understanding that it’s the commitment that counts, and that is true of any walk of life to which we commit. I committed to Benedictine, monastic life and the sisters who make up my community, so my holy humdrum moments are largely going to be with them as we walk together on the path toward God.
Karen Rose, OSB