“In whatever place you live, do not easily leave it.” – St. Anthony of Egypt
St. Benedict in his Rule greatly values stability of life, and makes of it a lifetime vow. How much wisdom there is in this insight for our hyper-mobile society.
Nowadays Benedict’s “itchy footed monk,” who endlessly flits about from monastery to monastery, might be seen as the “all options open” American man or woman who skips from commitment to commitment, app to app, fad to fad, relationship to relationship, job to job, gender to gender, parish to parish, never to remain long enough in one place to sink roots, face hardships and boredom, develop relationships of substance and grow the magnanimous virtues that are called forth only by persevering in the longevity of a stable commitment.
I can feel my insides rebel.
My wonderful spiritual director, whom God placed in my path soon after my conversion, responded one day to my complaints about prayer-time being distracted, dry, and frankly hard to sustain as a daily commitment: “Stay faithful to what little I have asked you to do for the next twenty years, and then come back to me and we can talk about the troubles you are facing in prayer. If you don’t go long, you’ll never go deep.”
When you feel the itch for novelty, for a release from your present place or commitments, wait and ask yourself, “And I running away from, or closer toward the greatness that is to be found in the will of God?”
Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. — John 15:4