Living the Zeal of Benedict

a blog by Sister Marilyn Schauble, OSB

My feet
are homeless
are lonely
stand in endless lines:
unemployment, soup kitchens

My feet
carry the weight of hunger
of addiction
of mental health challenges
of physical disabilities
of being an immigrant, a refugee

My feet
are a different color
a different gender
are a different culture
believe in a different god

My feet
are angry
are anchored in fear
rely on more guns
more division

My feet
are sad
are isolated
are devastated
may die alone

My feet
pursue our right
to clean air and water
to work for non-violence
to witness hope

Have you washed these feet?

Do you understand what I have done for you? You address me as "teacher," and fitting enough, for that is what I am. If I have washed your feet - I who am teacher - then you must wash each other's feet. What I just did was to give you an example. As I have done, so you must do.

John 13:12-15

If we are more generous and loving,
wiser and more compassionate,
less angry and fearful,
then of course
the world around us
will be a better place.

Benedict's Dharma: Buddhists Reflect on the Rule of Saint Benedict
Norman Fischer
Joseph Goldstein
Judith Simmer-Brown
Ed. Patrick Henry

Fast from judging others,
feast on looking for connection.

Fast from emphasis on differences,
feast on what you have in common.

Fast from fears of illness,
feast on thoughts of wellness.

Fast from words that pollute,
feast on words that bless.

Fast from irritation,
feast on gratitude.

Fast from worry,
feast on what is not broken.

Fast from complaining,
feast on acknowledgement.

Fast from bitterness,
feast on letting it go.

Fast from discouragement,
feast on hope.

Fast from idle gossip,
feast on purposeful silence.

Fast from lists of losses,
feast on receiving comfort and support.

Fast from concerns that overwhelm,
feast on the prayers of your heart.

Ever-creating God,
we witness your love
in the expression of Benedictine life.
As we prepare to celebrate
the Solemnity of Saint Benedict,
may we be ever-mindful
of Benedictine influence in past ages,
and may our continued commitment
give hope to oppressed peoples
who seek peace and justice.
We pray in praise of your holy name
now and forever.

O God,
you wondrously inspired Joseph and Benedict
to show us the way to life
by their faithfulness to the Spirit.
Grant that through their intercession
we may also persevere.
We pray in praise of your holy name
now and forever.