Benedict & Ownership part II
In Benedict’s short chapter on monks and private ownership we are brought face to face not with competing philosophies of economics or the mere disposition of stuff, but with the person of Christ who for love emptied himself, following in all things the will of his Father in heaven.
Following on questions about the location of our security, our trust, our hopes and fears and loves, here are a few more.
Have any of the objects we have been given to use become totemic, larger than life stand-ins for an anchor to the physical world, such that we would get nervous were they to go missing? Does the stuff we have about us, corporately or individually, make room in us for others? Does the space created by intentional lack connect us to others, or is it planted as some kind of elitist flag: we’re different and better than everyone else?
There are divergent movements today that touch on this issue. One is that of a careful, conscious relating to ordinary objects in dialogue, as if they mattered, questioning whether their existence in our lives makes room in us for remembrance, presence, or even joy.
This is warmly and humanly connective, and close to the Benedictine ideal.
nb—this photo is of recent work in the monastery; the guesthouse work has not yet begun