Lower chapel Regina Laudis Abbey.jpgThe gospel for today has the word, “Be opened” –in other words, listen. It is a word that is most known by Christians in the Rite of Baptism where the priest touches the ears of the person to be christened saying, “Be opened.”  Later in history, the word is made more famous for being the first word in the Rule of Benedict, Listen.

Today, the Mother Church recalls for us that Jesus uses mud to open the ears of a deaf man in front of Him; the Lord gives the man what he wants –the capacity to physically hear sounds– but Jesus also gives the man to capacity to hear the Good Word, to hear the voice of the Good Shepherd and thus is indicating a more profound manner of listening. It is our belief that the heart is where our desires, our needs, our total being is transformed by the hearing of the words of Eternal Life. Jesus opens our ears 2000 years later not only as an allegory for the inner life which we all need to attend to, but for some, there is a physical healing that also happens. “Be opened” now takes on the keen sense that without the Word of Life, without the Bread of Life, we can’t really understand who we are, and what we are about.

Speaking of the Saint Benedict’s Holy Rule, I was at the Abbey of Regina Laudis taking in the monastic environment of the Benedictine nuns who make it a point to listen. The Abbey is a special place. The nuns’ listening is not only relegated to Scripture, the Rule, and the Fathers of the Church, but to each other. It is in the Rule that we learn more poignantly that there is such a thing as mutual obedience. This is the way of the Church. That is to say, following another who witnesses and therefore teaches us the way of Christ. I wonder if the Benedictine experience of life is possible not only for women in Connecticut, but also for men. Can it be conceived that a monastic presence of men following the Church’s teaching on Baptism and Saint Benedict’s Holy Rule is possible in the Nutmeg State today?