In these final words of the Prologue to his Rule, our Father Benedict declares that his intention is to establish a school for God's service. In Benedict's school we learn how to obey the commands of the Lord so that our souls might be a place that God calls home. As a non-cloistered Benedictine order, our school looks less like dorm life at a residential seminary and more like the degree I am now pursuing from a distance. The goal, the end, is the same, but the means that get from here to there must be re-imagined and creatively engaged. In many ways, it takes greater discipline and more effort to stay the course and embody the identity of a student when one's residential circumstances remain physically unchanged.
My desire for the Community of St. Mary of the Annunciation is that "as we advance in the religious life and in faith, our hearts [will] expand and we [will] run the way of God's commandments with unspeakable sweetness of love."
Let us not, therefore, shy away from what seems difficult. There are no illusions about this path in St. Benedict's Rule. The entrance to the way of salvation cannot but be narrow, yet, with the help of God's grace and the movement of God's Spirit among those of us who have heard the call of our Lord to follow in this way, let us courageously pursue our studies in this school for God's service with discipline and faith.