The Rule of St. Benedict: Chapter 62
This chapter underscores the story of my dual vocation as a vowed religious and (future, by the will of God and the consent of the bishop,) priest, and it provides a great deal of insight into the dynamics I encounter as I make my way forward. Our Father Benedict is very clear that the religious identity is to occupy the primary place in the life of a Benedictine priest. He writes,
But let the one who is to be ordained beware of self-exultation or pride; and let him not presume to do anything except what is commanded him by the Abbot . . . Nor should he by reason of his priesthood forget the obedience and the discipline of the Rule, but make ever more and more progress towards God.
I have taken vows of stability and conversion to a monastic way of living, a component part of which is becoming, as Sr. Joan reflects, "a community person whose sanctification hinges on being open to being shaped by the word of God in the human community around us." It is incumbent upon me, therefore, to satisfy the requirements of my bishop for ordination in such a way that does not compromise my spiritual formation as a member of my Benedictine community or my role in the formation of my brothers and sisters. For some this path might seem constraining, but for those of us who are so called, it is a gentle road on which our willingness to be limited and vulnerable is met with grace upon grace upon grace.