Friday, November 2, 2012

Monk-eying Around

Recently, I visited Westminster Abby in Mission and spent a week trying to live the life of a monk, reading and attempting to follow St. Benedict’s order. The brothers’ objective is to understand God better by disciplining themselves, focusing their eyes on Him and away from distractions that might capture their attention. If you have read the children’s book “You are Special” by Max Lucado, the character Lucia is very much like a modern-day nun.

Like what criticisms and blessings do to our spirits, the Wemmicks of Lucado’s story gave each other dots and stars depending upon what they were able or unable to do. Though Lucado’s clumsy main character, Punchinello, is damaged greatly by his dots, he later learns a great deal from Lucia, a Wemmick who is not impacted by the stickers she gets. Her reason for this is that she regularly visits Eli, who created the Wemmick race from his workshop overlooking their village. She encourages Punchinello to do the same and everything begins to change for him.
As I practiced being a monk, I learned that Lucia’s quality of humility seems to be Benedict’s highest priority. As he writes in chapter 7 of his rule, “Without a doubt, we understand . . . that we descend by pride and ascend by humility.” Together with the monks of Westminster Abby, Lucia ascended by humility and encouraged her friend to do the same.