Nuns from Abbey of St. Walburga will hold a weekend retreat at Westminster Abbey in October
By Sister Maria Johanna Avila, OSB
Special to The B.C. Catholic
"How do I know if I'm called to the consecrated life?"
Discerning one's vocation can be a hard and arduous task, yet it is the most fulfilling quest we can undertake.
"Listen carefully, my child, to the master's precepts, and incline the ears of your heart. Receive willingly and carry out effectively your loving father's advice."
With these words St. Benedict, the father of Western monasticism, has been calling people to a life wherein Christ is preferred above all else.
Listen. Incline. Receive. Carry out. These are the steps St. Benedict offers one who is truly seeking to do God's will. He starts with the word "listen."
For St. Benedict, listening is the first step towards Christian obedience; it softens one's heart and inclines one's will to His. With heart softened one is more able to receive, and the inclination to follow His voice in obedience is deepened. In other words, the fruit of discernment is the capacity to obey God's call.
Twice a year the monks at Westminster Abbey offer a weekend for young women to experience a taste of monasticism firsthand. Monastic life fosters silence, order, and balance, with the liturgy as its source and summit, so that a person may have an ideal setting for seeking God.
Young women are able to join the monks in chanting the Divine Office, the main duty given to Benedictines by the Church, and to learn more about how to pray with the Scriptures. They also complement that prayer with work.
The weekend will also give them an opportunity to meet other young women who are on the same journey. Some women who have attended the "live-in weekends" have gone on to be Benedictine nuns or have entered other religious communities, and some have discerned their call to marriage and motherhood.
Whatever the call may be, the weekend gives young women a chance to have quiet time alone with God, and that can lead them a step further in their discernment.
St. Benedict, Pope Benedict XVI has said, "offers useful advice not only to monks, but to anyone looking for guidance on the path to God. Through his capacity, humanity, and his sober ability to discern between what is essential and what is secondary in the spiritual life, he is still a guiding light today."
The next monastic weekend will be Oct. 12-14 at Westminster Abbey. Benedictine nuns from the Abbey of St. Walburga, Colo., will be present during this monastic weekend to assist young women in their discernment.
More information is available from Abbot John Braganza, OSB: 604-826-8975, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Information about the Abbey of St. Walburga is available at www.walburga.org.