Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Community as Balancing Act

Photo: Nancy Bauer, OSB
Last week, we at Saint Benedict’s Monastery, St. Joseph, Minn., had invited several leadership persons from other Benedictine monasteries to join us for one week. Their role as visitators was to schedule one-to-one visits as well as small and large group listening sessions. 

 Visitators ask questions that allow community members to verbalize what seems to be working well within the monastery and what needs to be shifted to facilitate ongoing vibrancy. The community members open their hearts to receive the visitators’ report, commendations and recommendations. This allows the monastery to make honest choices about how to continue to build on our strengths. It also allows members to tweak their life together in ways that make the community an even stronger, unfolding human-God work of art.
There’s something in the balancing artistic rock sculptures of  Michael Grab  that seems to encapsulate what happens in this communal experience.  Here is how Grab explains his work
"The most fundamental element of balancing in a physical sense is finding some kind of tripod for the rock to stand on.  Every rock is covered in a variety of tiny to large indentations that can act as a tripod for the rock to stand upright with other rocks. By paying close attention to the feeling of the rocks, you will start to feel even the smallest clicks as the notches of the rocks in contact are moving over one another.  These "sculptures" have no support other than the rocks themselves.”

Mary Rachel Kuebelbeck, OSB

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