Fall is a favorite season for many of us. All around we see folks collecting dried seeds for spring planting, some are nurturing the ground with rich soil or cleaning a bird feeder. Others may be modifying daily schedules to accommodate school or childcare needs. We are all seeking normality in a time of uncertainty amidst global health concerns. All around we are hearing the following words, intending to offer comfort: “We are all in this together.”
It has now been about a half-year, or perhaps a half-century, since the coronavirus pandemic exploded onto our national, communal, and individual consciousness. The end of the stay-at-home order and the reopening of Minnesota has not brought a return to normal, but a time that feels like no-time, like an in-between place.
At the monastery, we’ve been encouraged to consider this no-time as a “covid pause.” During no-time, we are outside of our normal routine, making this a very good time for us to slow down and be reflective. We are all invited to consider and begin to act on what really matters, what doesn’t matter, and what needs to change in our lives.
The Feast of our founder St. Benedict is July 11. It is a very special time of celebration. Our Order, founded over 1500 years ago, means that Benedictines are the oldest religious community. I believe that this speaks to the depth and breadth of the foundation that St. Benedict built.
When I am working with the youth, I have opportunities to explain Benedictine life to them. When they hear that Benedictines are 1500 years old, I usually ask “Don’t I look good for being 1500 years old?” Then they laugh or their jaws drop. I have to admit, this is one way I know whether or not the students are paying attention. And they are: Our youth are listening and looking to us for wisdom and guidance.