The next phase
A lot of people are looking for a safe place to hide. But that’s not what St. Benedict did. And it’s not what the Norcia monks are doing.
Maybe it’s time to take the adventure we’re sent…
Well, that’s done. I move to the new place in Perugia in two weeks.
It wasn’t the worst move I’ve ever done. I’ll never forget the time I rented a house in New Westminster with two friends and we had to bring stuff to one location from four different parts of Vancouver. It took nine people, four trucks and three days. I remember sitting on the living room floor at the end of that, with four sofas piled up like a fortress around us, eating McFries and wondering when the nomad lifestyle would end. That was 22 years ago.
Though it was not really my choice to leave Norcia in October, it has become, through an act of Providence, my choice to remain away for now. The grace of God is a funny thing sometimes.
I have resisted talking about the earthquakes in St. Benedict’s home town as some kind of metaphor. There are real people – people I know – whose lives have been flattened by the quakes, and they deserve better than to be turned into a rhetorical gaming chip. But if you think about it for a moment, it does seem like a mad thing, to think about building in a time when all around you is crashing down. And of course, those monks were doing exactly that 17 years ago when they first arrived. The quakes – coming at the same moment as the worsening crisis in the Church and the world – have simply made the reality that much more obvious, and made the task that much more clear.
Whatever the World is doing, we are called to the same thing as believers; we are called to build up the Kingdom. Now, while all the world is either willingly participating in this civilizational self-destruction, or trying to find a place to hide, we are being given quite a different sort of task, wherever we are.