As my regular readers will know, I spent last summer with Benedictine nuns at the Abbey of Saint Walburga in Colorado.
Since the beginning of lockdown, my return to a more monastic lifestyle has enabled me to find great beauty in the midst of the crisis. In a recent essay for the Church Life Journal, I explain how Saint Benedict can transform this time:
The circumstances of a life under lockdown, in its utter solitude, monotony, and vulnerability, are radical; for most, these circumstances are also radically new. For one population, however, life may have changed very little since the outbreak: members of monastic communities. Though monasteries have closed their doors to visitors, monks and nuns are continuing their ordinary rhythm of work and prayer, ceaselessly interceding on behalf of the ill and suffering….Those who are not on the front line, and whose lives have slowed and been simplified during the outbreak, would do well to look to monasticism for guidance at this time. Although few of us are called to monastic life, all of us are called to enter into the circumstances before us today; life under lockdown is an opportunity we do not want to miss, for monastic practices can benefit our spirits and bodies alike. Guided by Saint Benedict, our loneliness can give way to prayer, we can obediently welcome restrictions as an opportunity for stability, and we can experience freedom in the midst of an apparently monotonous rhythm of life.