Dear Urban Abbey,
At Denise's funeral one the passages that was read during the service was from the Rule of St. Benedict, Chapter 72. For me it help me to understand what motivated Denise's loving presence on this earth and I felt like it was a good summary of what we should all strive for. The beautiful part is the initial point in the passage is that you do not have to do it alone! "The Good Spirit" is here to help us be the most loving community we can be.
"CHAPTER 72: The good spirit which should inspire monastic life
It is easy to recognize the bitter spirit of wickedness which creates a barrier to God's grace and opens the way to the evil of hell. But equally there is a good spirit which frees us from evil ways and brings us closer to God and eternal life. It is this latter spirit that all who follow the monastic way of life should strive to cultivate, spurred on by fervent love. By following this path they try to be first to show respect to one another with the greatest patience in tolerating weaknesses of body or character. They should even be ready to outdo each other in mutual obedience so that no one in the monastery aims at personal advantage but is rather concerned for the good of others. Thus the pure love of one another as of one family should be their ideal. As for God they should have a profound and loving reverence for him. They should love their abbot or abbess with sincere and unassuming affection. They should value nothing whatever above Christ himself and may he bring us all together to eternal life."
I know from Denise's model what it looks like to show respect to one another with the greatest patience in tolerating weaknesses of body or character. Certainly the Sisters at Bristow have lived out this rule completely as they offer their forgiveness, prayers and love to the young man who took so much from them. What would it look like or feel like in the Urban Abbey if we strove for this ideal? Are we inspired by the Good Spirit? Do we love each other with pure love as one family? I would love to hear your reflective and prayerful responses.
In pure love, Angela
[Posted by George for Angela]