Thursday, June 16, 2011

Benedictine Road Trip

Interesting things happen when you have four Benedictines on a car trip for 12-14 hours of travel each way in one weekend. All the invitations Benedict gives in his Rule related to the vows of obedience, conversatio (i.e., conversion of life) and stability have a way of expressing themselves in such close quarters.

If obedience includes the willingness to listen, to be attentive to what is being said, asked or needed at a given time, then there were multiple opportunities for obedience to manifest itself as we traveled the road.

If conversatio/conversion of life is recognizing the need to break away from common cultural values, then to choose to carry the least possible number of items and support one another by minimizing or modifying the number of distractions each driver needs to feel safe and yet alert, then we were definitely practicing conversatio.

If stability includes hanging out with the same people in the same space and allowing each other to change often while not backing away from them, then stability was clearly built into enjoying our time together.

If the common life includes laughter, then that's what we found ourselves doing after listening to the GPS and 10 minutes later finding ourselves back at the hotel we had just left. This is to say nothing about gleefully ignoring the looks of strangers when we exited our car every two hours and did our version of a seven-minute exercise at the rest stop or gas station.

Travel together is Benedictine living at a marathon pace.

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