Meditation written by Cathy Tamsberg.
Read by Felicia Roper.
Once upon a time a visitor came to a monastery looking for the purpose and meaning of life. The Teacher said to the visitor, “If what you seek is truth, there is one thing you must have above all else.”
“I know,” the visitor said, “To find Truth I must have an overwhelming passion for it.”
“No,” the Teacher said, “In order to find Truth, you must have an unremitting readiness to admit you may be wrong.”
This teaching from the Desert Mothers and Fathers comes from Sister Joan Chittister’s book Wisdom Distilled from the Daily: Living the Rule of St. Benedict Today. Interestingly, she places it in the chapter on “Obedience: Holy Responsibility.” Our modern, American, progressive sensibilities tend to prickle when we hear the word “obedience.” It smacks of being told what to do, following rigid rules, or doing what someone else wants us to do.
But Sister Joan uses this story to make an important point about community life, not just in a monastery, but in every real community. We all need the ability to “think thoughts other than our own, other than the past, other than the safe, other than the acceptable that will lead us eventually to truth.” But to accomplish this, we have to deal with our need to control. She notes that our culture trains us in individualism and then condemns us forever to live in groups.
One of the critical skills for meaningful community life is listening…to God, to God’s creation, to the community, and to the world in order to grow beyond ourselves and our own whims and wants, which we often confuse with our deep needs. So today, make listening the Lenten practice that is the focus of your day. Listen more and talk less, and see what truth comes to you as a result.
This meditation is from “Lent: Sowing Season, Holy Time,” a collection of daily readings by Associate Pastor Cathy Tamsberg. Each day during Lent, from Ash Wednesday, February 13, 2013, to Easter Sunday, March 31, 2013, a new excerpt read by a member of the Pullen congregation will be made available. To hear each day’s reading as it is published, subscribe to Pullen’s RSS feed, or listen to the podcast in iTunes.