To be attentive to the life around us takes practice. To recognize the beauty in all the life around us takes even more practice. On Monday night we wrapped up our monastic values class. Some values of monasticism include: prayer, work, community, peace, holy leisure, and stewardship. As Benedictines, our daily practices should cultivate these values in our lives. Being attentive certainly plays a role in this cultivation.
I think that being attentive also allows us to see the interconnectedness in all life. Saint Benedict is our example. To learn about the life of Benedict, one looks to The Dialogues of Gregory the Great. In one chapter, we read about an experience that Benedict had one evening where "he saw the whole world as in a single ray of light."
To see the whole world "as in a single ray of light" did not make his world smaller; on the contrary, it enlarged the world for Benedict. When we have purity of heart, we can call it single-mindedness. You read about it in the Beatitudes: "Blessed are the pure of heart, for they will see God." Seeing life in a single ray of light allows us, then, to be attentive to God in each moment -- what my sister did for me in the car that day.
Imagine being able to see God in all of life. When you think about it, of course it enlarges your world, and your heart; suddenly nothing can be excluded because everything has God's love poured into it. Inclusion requires a place and a space for all God's creation. For me right now, I am learning to see God in and through prayer, work, community, peace, holy leisure, and stewardship, among other values, as I cultivate a monastic heart that sees the whole world as a single ray of light.
Let us walk in the holy presence.