Sunday, April 24, 2016


St. Benedict devised a rule requiring vows of stability, conversion, and obedience. "Conversion" means "renewing your mind" on a daily basis, and "obedience" we understand (and typically resist). By "stability" he meant that he didn't want the monks to be peripatetic and unruly beggars, but there's much more to stability than that. One aspect is reliability: you are always there when you are needed.

A Mennonite Benedictine oblate Gerald W. Schlabach quotes Scott Sanders:

The national culture is wrong when it tells us that "the worst fate is to be trapped on a farm, in a village, in the sticks, in some dead-end job or unglamourous marriage or played-out game." "People who root themselves in places are likelier to know and care for those places," he insists, "than are people who root themselves in ideas." In our hemisphere, people rooted in ideas rather than places have been the ones who have committed the worst abuses against land, forests, animals and human communities — and hardly without shedding their bigotry. Those who do not value their own places are unlikely to value others', he argues. For unless one is "placed" one merely collects sensations as a sightseer, lacking the local knowledge that grounds and measures global knowledge. "Those who care about nothing beyond the confines of their parish are in truth parochial, and are at least mildly dangerous to their parish; on the other hand, those who have no parish, those who navigate ceaselessly among postal zones and area codes, those for whom the world is only a smear of highways and bank accounts and stores, are a danger not just to their parish but to the planet."

I like to say that "cosmopolitan ≅ homeless."

Do I need to emphasize the importance of stability for children? Consistency and faithfulness in parents must be really big deals, because the lack of them shows up in all sorts of misbehavior in the kids.

I know the economic machinery likes to use portable atoms, but sometimes we should try to dig in our heels.

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