St. Benedict (July 11th)
“A Mars a day helps you work, rest and play!”
July 11th was the feast of St. Benedict, a 6th century Italian monk who became one of the most influential figures in the history of the Catholic Church. His “Rule” established both spiritual and material guidelines for day to day living in monastic communities and gave practical advice on managing inter-personal relationships within the community. It provided a template from which all religious order founders took inspiration thereafter.
One of his intuitions was to split up a monastic community’s day into clear sections: precise times for prayer, work and study… so Nestlé’s marketing campaign for the Mars bar some years ago wasn’t saying anything new about how we need to find an appropriate work-life balance!
You don’t need me to tell you that this past year has provided more than its fair share of challenges. I know from my own experience that during the holidays I soon get bored if I’m just sitting around “relaxing” with nothing specific to do to keep my mind and body active, no ”study” to keep my brain (what there is of it) engaged. We’re all different, but make sure that you make time during the holidays for whatever gives you life, awakens your passions and allows you to share them with others.
And if a life-giving opportunity comes your way… CARPE DIEM! :-)
P.S. See here https://youtu.be/Jas9TZoFCmo for episode 3 of the 3 part BBC documentary series from 2005, “The Monastery”: a Big Brother-style social experiment that took place over 40 days in the Benedictine monastery of Worth Abbey in Sussex. Five volunteer men seeing if the monastic life of St. Benedict and his followers has anything to offer us in today’s world. The series was an amazing success and has spawned as series of similar documentaries in countries around the world.