Everyone talks about needing balance. Whether it’s work-life balance or emotional balance, people long for it. I know. I was one of those people.
Let me begin by saying, nothing is perfect … not even Benedictine life (although it IS great :))! However, balance is a Benedictine value that my community seeks to achieve every day together. Our lives reflect a balance of more than just work and leisure. They include dedicated communal and private prayer.
Prayer is the cornerstone of a monastic community. It is, if you will, our main work (even for those of us who work outside the monastery). Since we live at the monastery, arriving for Lauds at 7:15 in the morning (earlier, during the school year) is part of our daily rhythm. We make sure we get home in the evening in time for Vespers, as well. And if we don’t have time in between for our personal prayer, we schedule it before or after our community prayer.
It’s a big part of who we are.
As for our ministry (or jobs), we all have different paths. My ministry is teaching. Other Sisters serve in parishes, on campuses and in such ministries as social work and canon law. Some Sisters serve in the monastery as administrators and retreat directors. We all have ministries as we help build the kingdom of God.
Our leisure time is also very important to our mental, physical and spiritual health! I like how Sister Joan Chittister puts it in her book, Wisdom Distilled from the Daily: “Leisure, in other words, is an essential part of Benedictine spirituality. It is not laziness and it is not selfishness. It has to do with the depth and breadth, length and quality of life.”
We all long to find balance because it helps us become closer to God in this journey of seeking God everyday. In this balance we are able to hear God voice more clearly … in one another, in nature, in Scripture. Come see what I mean!!