Ok.  So I’m back from my (CREDO 2) conference in Virginia, and trying to get back into the swing of things.  And for me that includes reading the daily offices (out of the St. Helena Breviary).  So I’ve been reading today about Dunstan (who was born in 910 C.E. and died in 988 C.E.).

This morning I read the commentary from Brightest and Best (where it was commented that when clergy travel without their collars they often annoy people who want them “belled like a cat” so that they know their normal, every day lives are being interrupted by an emissary from the spiritual life).  And I’ve been thinking since about the sacred and the profane in Benedictine thought — where they are not separate.  The day is broken into a balance of prayer and work and study (none of which receive priority over the other).  The tools used for work in the fields are considered every bit as sacred (and in the service of God) as the tools used to celebrate the Eucharist.  God is present in all that we do.  The question is are we present to God?  Portaro talks about Dunstan’s work in music and metal work, given to God, as examples of God’s presence in all we do (and notes that the examples of being prepared for God’s coming at the end of time include people doing what we often would talk of, erroneously, as being secular work).

I don’t know if Dunstan was Benedictine or not.  But he was monastic, and Celebrating the Saints talks about how he took high position when invited to do so by kings and used that position to do God’s work promoting monastic reform.  It also talks about his work of copying and illuminating books, playing music, doing metal work and a whole variety of normal work stuff in the work portions of his days (which sounds pretty Benedictine to me).  His earliest (unknown) biographer talks about his rendering to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.  And I’m afraid he’s separating life into separate spheres.  But I remember a mailing from the Episcopal Peace fellowship where the question was asked, and what part of your life and what you have do you believe is not God’s?  And I remember being convicted.  My life is God’s, and all that is therein.

My awareness of this is not constant.  I forget this more often than I like to admit.  But it’s all God’s.  I do know that.  And I think I will live more richly and more fully the better I remember this.

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