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Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Three Benedictine Pillars for the Lay Person

Three Benedictine Pillars for the Lay Person

Over the past 25 years I have met with thousands of people who have felt that their life was not fulfilling, empty in some way, or at least, felt a sense of loss. It appeared after meeting with many of them that they didn’t have a planned structure to their life, actually they just flowed with the motion of the culture. As I asked them what their plan of life was, or how they structured their physical and spiritual day, most were at a loss for words. I couldn’t help but think that if they only had a plan established, some direction to balancing their life, they could grow, find significant fulfillment, and foster a sense of peace from within.

For centuries the Benedictine’s have adopted a way of life that includes three pillars:

1.                  Prayer
2.                  Work
3.                  Study

Each day consisted of elements that supported the three pillars. Their day begins and ends with structured prayer, and incorporates prayer time at specific intervals throughout the day.

Physical work is always included because we all gain benefit from physical exertion.

And to keep our mind stimulated and our psyche enriched, study of at least an hour or two day is a must.

This formula has benefited and sustained so many people: monks, nuns, priests, popes, and saints over the centuries. This method of balancing the earthly day have been tried and proven successful.

Why don’t we incorporate such a method for our own lives? Actually, doing so can be quite simple. The key is to actually develop a plan of incorporating this structure into our daily life and them implementing the plan.

In the beginning one could do the following:

Upon Awakening and Prior to Bedtime
Spend 15 minutes talking to God. You might want to pray the liturgy of the hours, read scripture, or just talk to God and listen for his response.

Many of us have jobs where there is some degree of physical labor so this won't be a problem. Actually I can’t think or anyone who doesn’t have a way of partaking in some physical labor.

Identify a subject, a topic, or any area of interest that you might have and begin to study it, formally. You might want to begin learning Spanish, or studying the Saints, or geography. The idea is to stimulate the mind to learn something new, something that will help enhance your understanding of the world, yourself, and others. It is essential that we continue to stimulate the mind.

This simple formula can be used as a staring point and then be tailored to meet your needs as you progress in the journey of life. What is important is that the formula has a balance of the three pillars and that you identify what in each category produces fruit in your life. It isn’t meant to be a required task, but a framework that nourishes our mind, body and soul.

Give it a try, begin tomorrow……. Begin today formulating your plan and see how your life will immediately begin to change and the reward will be eternal.

Deacon Pat

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