White Robed Monks of St. Benedict

Peace be with you.

The following is from "Gaudium et Spes and a Church Dialogue with the World" by Luigi Giola, O.S.B. in The American Benedictine Review, 68:1 March, 2017, 53f.

Peace as the key to a sapiential monastic theology

It is not an accident if peace, Pax, has become the motto that best sums up Benedictine spirituality. To conclude this essay let us focus on this peace and on the acceptance of difference and the patience it entails.

The dialectic of nihilism ... assumes that human relationships are fatally marred by arbitrary power and violence. Differences in relationship are irreconcilable, equivocal, and survival is possible only by overpowering others, or, according to the well-known theory of scapegoating adopted by René Girard, survival is possible only if violence is periodically poured on a victim on the basis of its radical diversity from the rest of the group.

But the space opened thanks to the relationship with God, or other thanks to the covenant God establishes with us, replaces this paradigm base don violence with another paradigm based on peace, which even though it is not fully realized yet, even though it is eschatological, inaugurates a new model of common like in the Church as it does in a monastic community*. In the space inhabited by a monastic community, the rich and the poor, the noble and the plebeian, people of different races, countries and even enemies are called to become one community, to pray and work together. This means that the violence of history, even though it is not fully overcome, is at least relativized in this common space.

The novelty of this pre-eschatological peace is manifested especially in the management of the difference, which according to Nihilism is equivocal and fatally generates violent opposition, or according to Post-modernism, becomes indifference because competing and even appositives of truth can coexist since they are self-contained in separate spheres that do not communicate with each other or can communicate only at a superficial level. We know how even Christianity is not immune with respect to both of these dynamics: creeds become occasions of division, if violence, of imposition by force, or, as a reaction, one opts for a tolerance that ignores the difference as if it did not exist at all.

An authentically Christian community, however, promotes, protects, guarantees the freedom to be difference and at the same time totally rejects indifference.

... Finally, the language represented by the common life takes the form of patience and in its regard we are instructed ... by the thought of Rown WIlliams:
This means the church will be a community marked by patience. It will look for its own identity as something not yet possessed. Here the church is sustained by what Sergius Bulgakov has called "the patience of the Spirit." In the Holy Spirit, God is patient with us just as a parent is lovingly patient with the slow growth of a child. Indeed the Spirit of God's patience, Hod's own commitment to the slow process of growth and transformation, and to those fringe dwellers who remain remote from the church's visible center. For Williams, the same is often true of the Christian life: if we're not growing daily, almost imperceptibly, then we're not growing at all. Patience means endurance of hardship, a willingness to tarry with the experience of failure and incompleteness. But God does not stand aloof from our tragic experience; in the Holy Spirit, God bears our struggle and sustains it. (Benjamine Myers, Christ the Stranger: The Theology of Rowan WIllams. (London: T&T Clark International 2012) 17.

*Monastic Community: Please note that the intention on the White Robed Monks of St. Benedict is for all to be considered part of the monastic community. Hence, each family forms yet another monastic community in its own rite.

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