Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Feast of St. Benedict

This last Sunday was the Feast of St. Benedict within the Catholic tradition. I wasn't aware of this fact when I made plans to travel up to my alma mater (in Central Minnesota) with a good friend of mine. But when I learned of this fact by attending Mass on Sunday morning, it seemed appropriate. My alma mater is a Catholic, Benedictine university, after all. It seemed right to recognize the recognize how this tradition formed me through my college years.

I think my first impression of returning to that place is just how beautiful that part of the country is. Now don't get me wrong, Nebraska has it's own kind of loveliness, with its prairie and blue sky. But the section of Minnesota where I went to school seems almost to be bubbling over with grandeur. The hills, the dense rows of trees, the lakes. I had almost forgotten it's ability to take my breath away.

My second impression was how returning to my alma mater was as much a tour of memories and emotions as it was a tour of a physical place. Sure, there's new buildings, new people, and the curiously young student population (assuredly, I was never so young when I attended college!). But the sights and sounds and smells mostly gave rise to a wash of memories -- of friends, of joys, of losses, of moments of insight.

Somehow by reliving those memories, by spending time with old friends again, and by attending Mass at a place where there was a true sense of inclusion and belonging -- I left the weekend with a deeper sense of myself, a kind of profound awareness of who I am, of where I come from. It was, in a sense, a kind of spiritual homecoming.

I'm so deeply grateful to have had the opportunity to attend that weekend. Grateful to my wife for watching our boys so I could go, grateful to the friends who made the weekend such a good experience, grateful to the monks and staff at my alma mater for being so welcoming and gracious.


more cows than people said...

Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

so happy for you...

Diane said...

"a deeper sense of who I am" ... what a great gift, at a place where they practice such hospitality (the Benedictines are famous for it).

good for you.

Diane said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Magdalene6127 said...

That sounds like a really lovely experience, Steve. Thanks so much for sharing it.

I studied Benedictine spirituality with the magnificent Joan Chittister in grad school a hundred years ago. Such an amazing woman, such an amazing spiritual path.


Gannet Girl said...

Ah, that Benedictine spirituality hospitality!

Gannet Girl said...

Let me try again: Ah, that Benedictine hospitality!