November 10, 2009


Surrendering is a Benedictine virtue. Monastic profession is complete surrender to the Other. Father Richard comments:

‘This central message at the beginning of Mark’s Gospel tells us what we have to do to “turn our lives around.”  It would seem to imply that status quo thinking is hardly ever aiming in the right direction.  Both societies and individuals tend to be too self-protective and too self-aggrandizing; but many individuals are self-rejecting too.  “Business as usual” in any individual or any culture will normally not get you there.  It circles around smallness.

The Greek word metanoia, usually translated “repent,” quite literally means to “change your mind,” to turn around and operate differently.  Given that, it is rather amazing that Christian history has largely become a protection of the status quo—through its complicity with war, the upper classes in most of its history, and with people who do not like change at all.  You would have thought Jesus had said “stay the same” instead of “change”!

Of course, this change is only possible if we have experienced the next verse and “believed some good news.”  We will all be protectors of the status quo until we deeply accept that we are deeply accepted, which is one of the most difficult surrenders possible.  On that basis alone do we have the courage to build a new and larger future for ourselves and for the world.’


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