Do not be daunted immediately by fear and run from the road that leads to salvation. It is bound to be narrow at the outset (The Rule of Saint Benedict:Prologue v. 48).
I have begun the process of founding The Contemplatives of Subiaco-Order of Saint Benedict. Lord willing and others consenting, it will be a Benedictine Community with a focus on solitary contemplative prayer and responding to the Presence of Christ in the world around us.
I am feeling led to begin this work because there needs to be a dispersed Contemplative Community of Benedictines that finds a place of religious life ministry that is inclusive of individuals with autistic spectrum disorders and/or mental illnesses. This work is ambitious, yes, but it is also scary. I am an individual that lives with Asperger’s Syndrome and its many social ramifications. Isolation. Rejection. Many failing to understand that my complications in social interactions are not because of me just not getting my act together; but a medical, neurological and developmental disorder that prevents me from fully functioning in the way I and others might like. I find myself a bit concerned about the challenges that lay ahead as I begin this work. Nevertheless, I feel it is what God is moving on my heart to do at this point in my life. It certainly feels like one of those narrow beginnings that St. Benedict indicates in the selection from The Rule.
St. Benedict himself, left the nobility and the privileges he had because of his wealthy up bringing, because he knew that God had something even more wonderful for him. He left for the cave at Subiaco in Italy. In that cave, he studied the Scriptures and listened intentionally to God in contemplative solitude for three years. During that time he faced the fears he must have had. In spite of his solitude, many individuals found him and his fame spread everywhere. There were those who were so inspired by what Benedict was doing; that they would bring him food and provisions. This was for St. Benedict a narrow beginning that led him and many to salvation through his Monastic way of life.
God calls upon each of us to our respective and diverse vocations. We do not always know what they are or where they will take us as we begin our journey. This can include going to school, starting a new job, beginning a new relationship or making improvements to our home. Our first steps on the road that leads us to salvation will be narrow and frightening. We will have our moments of wanting to give up and run away. Saint Benedict reminds us in this wonderful verse from the Prologue; that we never walk that road alone. God is there guiding our steps, speaking to our hearts and walking through that narrow beginning with us. Whether that road leads us to a successful ending or not, we can have faith in God that nothing that has happened in the past, or what may happen in the future will keep God from bringing us to where God wants us to be.
How and in what ways is God speaking to your heart about taking that first step on a road that has a narrow outset?
Brother Anselm Philip King-Lowe, OSB