Three young maple trees were planted side by side at the same time. They stand in the hot summer sun with arms raised heavenward. Two trees are green and leafy. One has turned red.Methinks the red tree is a bit eager to be about the business of autumn!We are called, as Benedictine Sisters, to seek God with eagerness and to run on the path of God’s commandments, our hearts overflowing with the inexpressible delight of love (RB Prol. 49). St. Benedict encourages us to run and do now what will profit us forever (RB Prol. 44) and to exhibit good zeal which separates from evil and leads to God and everlasting life (RB 72.2). In seeking God, we are called to “give it all we got!”It can be tempting to think that we are in control of the race, that what we accomplish is the result of our own hard work and good zeal to succeed, that surely God will love us because we try so hard. We forget that we already have God’s love. Eagerness and zeal are responses to that love, not ways to attain it.
Supporting us with “the greatest patience” for our “weaknesses of body and behavior” (RB 72.5), our good, gentle, mothering God takes us by the hand before we run too far ahead, too fast.
“I am like a verdant cypress tree” – Because of me you bear fruit! (Hosea 14:9)
Our souls are “like a land parched, lifeless, and without water” (Ps. 63:2) and we yearn for God. Eager in our seeking, we must remember that the journey is as important as the destination. The seasons through which we pass on our journey shape us. God is present in the now as well as the moment we are zealously, eagerly trying to reach.God is our companion on the journey of seeking, as well as the cause of fruitfulness along the way. Eagerness and good zeal in seeking God must be rooted in simplicity, humility, and trust.
Are you hastening toward your heavenly home? Then with Christ’s help, keepthis little rule that we have written for beginners. After that, you can set outfor the loftier summits…and under God’s protection you will reach them. (RB 73.8-9)
Sister Ann Marie Wainright
Sister Ann Marie Wainright is a Benedictine Sister of St. Scholastica Monastery in Duluth, Minnesota. Originally from New Orleans, Louisiana, she worked as a CPA for many years before earning dual masters degrees in counseling and pastoral studies. Sister Ann Marie is interested how people encounter God in their daily lives and how they use their faith and spirituality in meeting difficult challenges.See all of Sister Ann Marie’s blogs.