Bad Benedictine; "I love you, go home!"

As I anticipate coming into my tenth year as a Benedictine Oblate, I rejoice that the effect of Benedictine spirituality in my life has helped me to become less savage than I was, although I am still quite feral in some ways. But, as I explain in my latest column at First Things, there is a part of the Holy Rule of St. Benedict that still has me stymied: Benedictine Hospitality, and St. Benedict’s dictum that we must receive everyone we encounter as receiving Christ. I have a long way to go, there.

I became a Benedictine, rather than a Secular Franciscan, because my instincts have always been to the quiet side of life. I have always preferred prayerful contemplation and reading to almost anything else, and my instinct has always run toward the decidedly monastic-to-hermitish over the social. Franciscans, like their Father Francis, are much too jolly and prone toward get-togethers and celebrations. As an Oblate—with my own monastery hundreds of miles away, and no other Oblates living nearby, to my knowledge—there is little chance of my being invited to a mixer.

It’s not that I don’t like people. Generally speaking, I do like people; I think they’re funny, interesting, and mostly well-intended. I just don’t like being around them very much, and increasingly I wish I could communicate with everyone via skype or internet and leave all that physicality behind.

This has nothing to do with love. Whom I love, I love to near-distraction. And I dearly love the people I don’t want to be around. My husband’s family is more “mine” than my own biological siblings ever could be, my nieces and nephews amaze and delight me—and I just don’t understand why I have to get together with them all the time, or why I am having everyone over to celebrate Easter. When my son jokes that our doormat should say “go away,” he’s more right than he realizes.

Read the rest to find out how Lent is helping

My own photo.

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  • Laura

    Oh, gosh, I love you. Fellow Bennie, fellow introvert… Oh, God bless you! (you ever think of building an oblate deanery in your immediate area? that’s what we did.)

  • Rose

    I understand, too! Plus, I have always felt drawn to St. Benedict due to his rule of “Let mercy triumph”. And speaking of mercy and alone-ness, isn’t it in the Diary of Divine Mercy that Jesus says to St. Faustina something about recollected souls being able to hear Him best? (Of course I can’t remember the exact words now when I want to!)

    Latest blog entry: Getting to know St. Wenceslaus:

  • http://none cherry

    I think you have more in common with Fr Corapi than you might know… and that you are both serving God as best you can , and are not so unalike

    A Franciscan told me that he met FR C and how gentle and kind he was.. quite different from how people think he is….another friend met him ,and asked for advice about her children ,that had fallen away from the church..He said pray as my mother prayed for me..she wouldn’t give up on me nor would God

    She is a meek person and he was so kind to her..things are not always what they seem ,or how they look..even lambs can harbor inner … tigers …and tigers can nurture their young

    Gods peace be on you both..I love you both

  • Margaret

    I read your blog every day and often want to tell you how much I enjoy it. More than that, your comments and links are so helpful. This current one, for example—I am also an introvert, and a medieval historian with great love for the Benedictines. I live not all that far from an abbey in Big Sur, CA and your blog has me thinking about becoming an oblate there. Thank you.

  • SKAY

    Love the picture.

  • Linda

    I was just cruising through my email today, I just recently subscribed to Patheos, and found your postings. I am so happy to have found a kindred spirit. Your blogs have filled a real void for me. I am also on a Benedictine journey. I will finish a Spiritual Direction program in May and will have the time to pursue becoming an Oblate this fall. I have been reading the rule for over 20 years since I first discovered Macrina Wiederkehr and Hildegard of Bingen. I want to thank you for taking the time to write this blog. I feel like a little bit of heaven has sscome to visit me today.