For someone who loves symmetry, it is rather nice that the 1,000th blog post to appear on iBenedictines should co-incide with the feast of All Benedictine Saints and our waiting to hear whether the historic landing of the Philae robot on Comet 67P is going to be as successful as we all hope it will. We are reaching for the stars at every level!
One of the most amazing things to have happened in my lifetime is the exploration of space. To have watched the moon landings as I did as a child; to have pored over those beautiful photos made possible by the Hubble telescope; to have looked at Mars or the grey surface of 67P is something undreamed of, a wonder and a joy that, to me, speaks of God. What mind, what heart, conceived these things and holds them in being? The Benedictine Saints we commemorate today did not see any of these astronomical wonders, but they knew ‘the Love that moves the Sun and lesser stars’. And because they knew that Love they have left us both example and encouragement.
‘Reaching for the stars’ may be a rather corny expression, but I think it captures that sense of voyaging into the unknown, of striving for holiness that characterises Benedictine life. People sometimes think that becoming a monk or nun must turn one in on oneself, makes one’s universe shrink. If it does that, there is something very wrong going on. The opposite should be true. One’s horizons should expand, just as one’s heart should expand with the inexpressible sweetness of love as one runs along the path of God’s commandments. (RB Prologue 49) Blogging, too, if it is all about seeking admiration or star-ratings is, for the monastic practitioner, another wrong turn. I am grateful that this blog has managed to pursue its own quirky path with what I hope is its own quirky integrity for 1,000 posts. You, the readers, help make it what it is, but any success it has cannot be measured in numbers, only in its ability, or otherwise, to make people think and, I hope, draw closer to God.
St Benedict ends his chapter on Good Zeal with the hope that Christ may bring us all together to everlasting life. That is the prayer of the community here today for all who light on these pages, and for all whose lives we touch or who touch our own.