“The life of a monk ought to be a continuous Lent.”
Last week at our chaplaincy assemblies, I shared a reflection on this passage from Chapter 49 of the Rule of St. Benedict. This particular line from the Rule feels especially meaningful this year, and it has continued to resonate with me in these first few weeks of Lent.
Don’t we find ourselves living a continuous Lent these days? Haven’t we been making sacrifices for an entire year? It’s not hard to come up with a long list of things that we have given up since last March. And while it might be frustrating to make so many sacrifices, it’s reassuring to know that in living this continuous Lent we are following the advice that St. Benedict gave his monks.
Why are we making these sacrifices? Why are we wearing masks, keeping our distance, and filling out daily screenings? Ultimately, we are doing these things to protect one another, especially the most vulnerable members of our community. These sacrifices for the good of the community seem like pretty meaningful ways to live out our Benedictine identity.
Living a continuous Lent is not easy. St. Benedict knew this when he went on to write, “Since few, however, have the strength for [living a continuous Lent], we urge the entire community during these days of Lent to keep its manner of life most pure and to wash away in this holy season the negligences of other times.” So, during this holy season, St. Benedict challenged his monks to make an extra effort to live good and holy lives. Last week at assembly, I suggested that we take on this challenge as a community.
Christ sacrificed himself so that we may live. Our Lenten sacrifices remind us of the suffering that Christ endured for others. Surely, even in this challenging year, we can find a way to give more. After all, Christ gave everything.
Mr. Mike Nickolai '03
Assistant Head of School for Human and Spiritual Formation