Advent Reflection: Epiphanic & Catalytic . . . and Ugh

3 December 2007

Ugh because another week is upon me.  After an hour or so of meeting with students about their papers or meeting with students who had missed appointments and then complained about my not wanting to see them when I had not expected them, I am tired of my students too early in the week.

The last few days, however, have been epiphanic.  My meeting with my Spiritual Director went well, as usual.  My meetings with him, as usual, are catalytic.  Things start changing: my perspective, my direction, etc., are all influenced after that kind of meeting.

Then, last night,  Beth and I had a discussion about our family’s overall spiritual life, touching on my personal journey, her journey, how that has gone, as well as how the Little Guy might be formed spiritually and religiously.  Although at points it was tense, the discussion was fruitful.  Beth comes from a very non-liturgical tradition, and while she appreciates much of what the churches we’re involved with do, some things are still foreign to her.  (Beth, feel free to clarify this if I am misrepresenting anything.)

As I was raking leaves into the street for the street sweeper to take and put in a large bin to be made into mulch, I thought about my meeting and the discussion with Beth.  My SD has commented before about my attraction to orthodoxy, when defined as the proper integration of all aspects of life, be they prayer, work, leisure, etc.

I feel I am always becoming better integrated, bringing things that make me more the person I was meat to be into myself, and instead of being “Jorge doing X,” I become simply Jorge.

As I raked the leaves, I decided I might leave behind the Benedictine psalter I’ve worked on and prayed with for a few months now and simply use the shorter, one to three Psalms appointed in the BCP.   This is not to say that I am leaving Benedictine spirituality, but instead recognizing what I am truly called to be.

We usually think of vocation as a long-range, big picture static thing: one discovers what one is “called to,” and then one doesn’t.  My changing practices and perspectives may seem to be dilettantism, and maybe it is, but I think it is not.  Vocation does involve large-scale, long-term callings, but vocation is also about little things: daily callings, weekly callings, monthly callings.  In other words, we are called in small ways as well as large ways, and I think my recent changes with the Office are just that.

To be honest, I have not read the Rule on a daily basis in some time.   I tried to establish a relationship with the nuns of Saint Scholastica’s, but every time they email me because of some kind of Oblate event, something else in my life jumps in.  Perhaps God is trying to tell me something.

Leaving behind the Benedictine Psalter will make my life simpler.  I’m looking forward to a simpler Advent.  I have really been becoming less and less a Benedictine lately, and I think I should recognize that.

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