Excerpts from a reflection given by Mother Maria- Michael Newe to the community for the feast of St. Benedict.
What do I think that the Holy Spirit is saying to the Church and to us as Benedictines? We heard from the book of Genesis last week, “We saw the anguish of his heart when he pleaded with us but we paid no heed.” I think we are being asked to see the anguish of the Heart of Christ crying out for unity. Several times every day we pray, “in the unity of the Holy Spirit.” That is essential to our lives, especially as Benedictines.
In the Rule of St. Benedict, it is clear that there are four kinds of monks, “The first are the cenobites, that is to say, those who belong to a monastery, where they serve under a rule and an abbot. Second, there are the anchorites or hermits, who have come through the test of living in a monastery for a long time, and have passed beyond the first fervor of monastic life… They have built up their strength and go from the battle line in the ranks of their brothers to the single combat of the desert. Self-reliant now, without the support and consolation of another, they are ready with God’s help to grapple single-handed with the vices of body and mind.” (RB 1:1-5) It seems that ,here, Benedict is saying that the blessing of living in community is that we are to be a strength and consolation for one another. The power of a cenobite comes from the fact that he is called not to think of himself but of others and doing that exhibits the power of God in our lives.
The first cry of Jesus is a prayer for unity. The celebration of the Eucharist brings unity. Unity can only be found in God. God is the source and energy of unity. Our unity, in turn, causes others to believe. That is why it is such a sin to break unity; that is why God is crying out at this time for unity. He desires that all believers may be one in Christ.
Each one of us is called to be a saint. We are called to strive and struggle and love in community. So in St. Benedict let us strive together, in love, for unity; let us pray deeply, in love, for one another so that we can see our own call to conversion.