One of my novitiate projects is writing a research paper on the Rule of Benedict through exploring a theme found in it. I chose to explore the theme of peace, and I am deep into the nitty gritty of writing the paper.
Surprising (to me at least) is the fact that Benedict uses the actual word peace fewer than a dozen in the text of the Rule. Pax is ubiquitous in the world of Benedictinism. But, even though it is seldom mentioned explicitly, the theme still runs rampant throughout the Rule.
As I started working on the paper, I told some sisters about my work. They were quick to offer to read my paper and to answer any questions. One sister gave me books with quotes about peace. Certainly the experience of writing this paper is much more peaceful than those college days!
Here are a few quotes from the books.
It's a bit embarrassing to have been concerned with the human problems all one's life and find at the end that one has no more to offer by way of advice than "try to be a little kinder." (Aldous Huxley)
If you live alone, whose feet will you wash? (St. Basil)
At some ideas you stand perplexed, especially at the sight of human sins, uncertain whether to combat it by force or by humble love. Always decide, "I will combat it with humble love." If you make up your mind about that once and for all, you can conquer the whole world. Loving humility is a terrible force; it is the strongest of all things and there is nothing like it. (Dostoyevsky)
What is (hu)man?
Hope turned to dust.
What is (hu)man?
Dust turned to hope. (Elie Wiesel)
Be not lax in celebrating.
Be not lazy in the festive service of God.
Be ablaze with enthusiasm.
Let us be an alive, burning offering
before the altar of God. (Hildegard of Bingen)
Let us walk in the holy presence.