Happenings

Prioress Reflection for Ash Wednesday

Prioress Reflection for Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday Reflection
Sister Nicole Kunze, Prioress
February 14, 2018

I’d like to begin with a passage from Chapter 4, The Tools for Good Works, from the Rule of Saint Benedict:

“Your way of acting should be different from the world’s way; the love of Christ must come before all else. You are not to act in anger or nurse a grudge. Rid your heart of all deceit. Never give a hollow greeting of peace or turn away when someone needs your love.” (RB 4:20-26).

In the vision statement we endorsed in 2015, we stated that, “Our vision is to live a vibrant Benedictine community life.” What does that mean? What does that look like?

In a recent conversation I had with one of our sisters, we were discussing the gifts and challenges of community life and she said, “In the end, all we have is each other.” That phrase has stayed with me for some time. In the end, all we have is each other, each of us with our gifts, our challenges, our limitations.

For me, life in community is one of the biggest reasons why I am a member of this Benedictine monastery. I also admit that some days, community life can be one of the challenges to being a Benedictine. I believe we realize that community living is something we must work on daily. It doesn’t just happen spontaneously.

Jean Vanier is the founder of the L’Arche communities for people with intellectual disabilities and those who assist them. In his book, Community and Growth, he wrote, “It becomes community only when people start truly caring for each other and for each other’s growth.” Vanier also wrote that living together implies a certain cross, a constant effort and mutual forgiveness. There will be words and actions by others that will hurt. We must be committed to forgiveness, growth and love of one another in order to make community work.

Let us take some time to reflect upon the following questions.

How do I show that I care for others in our community?

What efforts do I make to include others in an activity?

How do I reach out to someone who is having a bad day?

At commissioning in August, I asked us to consider the question, “What can we create together?” During Lent, I would ask you to consider the following questions:

How can we convert a hollow greeting into a greeting of care and concern for the other sister?

How can we let go of a grudge and allow God to transform it into an experience of mutual forgiveness?

How can I be fully present when another sister needs my love?

Because, in the end, all we have is each other.

Let me close with the words of Saint Benedict:

“Your way of acting should be different from the world’s way; the love of Christ must come before all else. You are not to act in anger or nurse a grudge. Rid your heart of all deceit. Never give a hollow greeting of peace or turn away when someone needs your love.” (RB 4:20-26).

 

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