Pastor’s Corner (1/23/2020)
“To listen is to lean in, softly, with a willingness to be changed by what we hear.”
–Poet and Spiritual Adviser, Mark Nepo
In my Pastor’s Corner for the first Messenger of 2020, I talked about the Benedictine pillars of stability, conversion, and obedience. In that article I focused on the pillar of stability. This time I would like to share some thoughts about the elements of conversion and obedience.
The Oxford Dictionary defines conversion as “The process of changing or causing something to change from one form to another.” The Latin root of this word has to do with change. We often think of conversion as changing from one to faith to another or one faith tradition to another. It’s often thought of as a one-time event.
For Benedict, conversion is about our growing desire to connect with God. For Benedict, conversion is about constantly turning to God in faith and trust. The Latin root of conversion is also the same root for the word conversation. Both words imply a willingness to be changed by our interactions with one another and with God. For Benedict, conversion and obedience are closely linked. Our Handbook for Benedictine Oblates states it well and clearly:
Obedience is part of our ongoing conversion, part of that constant turning to God that is conversion. Benedict begins his Rule with the verb “listen.” Obedience, basically, is listening. It is hearing God’s word to us.
As we begin a new year and a new decade, I invite us to embrace Benedict’s invitation to listen and be continually changed. We are invited to listen to God, to converse with God, and to embrace the change that comes. Listening and genuinely conversing with God empowers us to do the same with one another.
In love and peace,