Climbing St. Benedict’s Ladder – Rung 2
Step #1 – God is God and I am not
Step #2 – “The second rung of the spiritual life follows naturally; if God is my center and my end, then I must accept the will of God, knowing that in it lies the fullness of life for me, however obscure. The question of course is, How do we recognize the will of God?….The will of God for us is what remains of a situation after we try without stint and pray without ceasing to change it.” Joan Chittister, The Rule of Benedict, 84)
Someone once told me the definition of the church: The church is what’s left after the building burns down and the preacher moves away. This is what Sister Joan is telling us about God’s will. Yet both of these images are negative.
Flip the paradigm. What do we have after praying without ceasing and without the distractions of ‘institutional overhead’?
Relationship. Connected-ness with the people around us. The opportunity to take part in building something new, not with bricks and mortar, hay and straw but with hope and joy, creativity and grace. And all supported and covered by Holy Love. Relationships, opportunities to grow, change and create are how we recognize the invitation to work with Holy Love.
The second rung of Benedict’s ladder is about commitment. If I say I am connected to God and other people, then am I committed enough to live that out according to an agenda that is not my own? That commitment is a vital part of humility. That commitment is based on trust. Trust that God is for us and not against us. “That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.” (Romans 8:28, The Message)
Accepting the will of God isn’t about punishment, it’s about growth in grace – connecting grace, committed grace, creative grace.