Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Holy Boredom

Rather than the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity, and obedience, Benedictines take vows of stability, conversion of life, and obedience, and the call to remain in the cell is a call to stability.  (Actually, you can probably see all three vows in the call to the cell, but I want to talk about stability.)

In our modern culture, we are used to constant stimulation and excitement.  Boredom is the enemy -- we are terrified of it.  This spills over into the spiritual life, and there is the danger of always being on the lookout for the next spiritual "high".  I myself certainly spent my twenties and much of my thirties in this quest for the next spiritual "high", for that magic bullet that would transform my spiritual life.  The right denomination, or congregation, or liturgy.

But, in reality, there is a "holy boredom" that we must experience if we are ever to experience authentic spiritual maturity.  Prayer will be boring much of the time -- at least if we're doing it right.  We show our love for God most clearly when we pray even though we don't feel like it -- and when we do that task that we would really rather not do, but know we should.  We must commit ourselves to the mundane, the ordinary, the plain, even the uncomfortable.  And that is found in a commitment to one's daily life.

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