The Rule of St. Benedict: Chapter 57
My son, Ira, believes that everything is art. When pressed for clarification by his older brother or by his parents he simply asserts that everything, in its own way, is art. He is quite insistent. He has not arrived at this belief by careful reasoning and study of philosophical aesthetics, but by means of the way the world comes to him and moves through him. Ira is an artist. He attends to a set of phenomena in everyday life that escapes the notice of most people. This capacity to perceive is not something he learned as much as it is something he bears into the world. Sometimes it is a burden for him, but most of the time it is a gift for all of us.
The fact that our Father Benedict makes room in the community for Ira is a source of great joy for me. It can be challenging to share life with an artist, especially with regard to creating structure and order according to an imposed standard, or rule. Yet, as my dear friend, the founder and head of a secondary school for the arts, has taught me, providing a clear and livable structure wherein daily life and art are carefully integrated can be salvation for artists and their art.
Benedictine spirituality does not squelch creativity and stamp out the inner light that burns in an artist's soul. It tends the fire by building a furnace and carrying the wood and channeling the life-giving heat as a gift for the world.