Learn about Yourself with St. Benedict

Learn about Yourself with St. Benedict

By Sister Stefanie MacDonald, OSB

When I'm asked to recommend a book on Benedictinism, I suggest  Seeking God: The Way of St. Benedict, by Esther de Waal.

I read it when I was a novice and still refer to it.

As a Benedictine Sister, I follow the Rule of St. Benedict and am continually amazed at its relevance nearly 1500 years after its writing.

It’s a guide, really, not a rule.

And while it helps Sisters live together in a monastery, it also helps people live and work in lay communities, workplaces and even the Church.

DeWaal introduces us to the Rule, helping unpack some key precepts – Listening, Stability, Change, Balance and more – in a way that is clear, inspiring and helpful.

She ends each chapter with reflection and prayers.

I recommend it for anyone, whether you’re exploring your vocation or not. 

Of course, if you are exploring your vocation, it’s a great tool. This line still speaks to me: “…life in Christ means life through a succession of opening doors, not a life that is always static or safe.”

I sure appreciate that.

Like anyone else, my gut instinct is to seek safety, even when I SAY I want to say Yes to Christ.

Trouble is, we can’t always do both. That is, we are called to go through the open doors – of new neighbors, of new ministries, of new experiences.

If we let our fear keep us where we are, we remain static and stunted.

Growth requires discovery. It requires discovering what’s on the other side.

For those who think they may have a vocation to religious life, it means opening the door to the monastery and discovering what’s inside.

It means discovering what’s inside you, too.

Pick up DeWaal’s book. Learn about yourself as you learn about monastic life. And contact me or another vocation director who can help introduce you to the different types of religious communities that are available.

You may discover religious life is not for you. Great! You can cross it off your list and get on with your life.

But if you discover – like I did – that it is what you want more than anything else in the world, then you are one step closer to beginning your new life in Christ. 

Trust Jesus.

Contact Sister Stefanie at (309) 283-2300 or smacdonald@smmsisters.org.

* Exploring your vocation? Women between 18 and 48 are invited to join us for some or all of our Christmas Novena. It will be a graced time to learn more about what you are seeking. Learn more!

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