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Always We Begin Again

Updated: Sep 20, 2023

As I write this, first-year students are arriving on campus at the college. And so begins another year of campus ministry. I always greet this time of year with excited anticipation and a touch of healthy anxiety. Each new year brings with it the joys and challenges of a new beginning. I love this aspect of my ministry with the students.


Saint Benedict of Nursia revitalized western monasticism in the sixth century. His written guidelines for communal monastic living were incorporated into monasteries throughout Europe and the British Isles. The Rule of Saint Benedict, as it became known, was of course intended specifically for monastic communities, but it has a broad appeal and application for anyone seeking to deepen their spiritual life.


Benedict’s Rule comes to mind for me at this time of year, because one of its core principles is this: “…always we begin again.” In the context of the Rule, this important insight is an acknowledgment that even within the spiritually disciplined life of a monastic community, there will be stumbles and opportunities to “begin again”. And this principle, I believe, is one that speaks not just to life in a monastery, but also to a life of faith more generally.


The human condition is such that we frequently find ourselves at “beginning again” moments. Sometimes it is because we have failed to live up to our own standards and expectations, which have been informed by our faith, and we want/need the fresh start of a “tabula rasa” (clean slate). Sometimes, the “beginning again” dynamic is simply an inherent part of the life we are living: the start of a new academic year; the start of a new day, week, month; moving to a new geographic location; beginning a new job; recovering from an illness.


Whatever the context and circumstances, a new beginning, whether small or large, provides us with the opportunity for renewal and recalibration. The opportunity to realign ourselves with God’s vision and purposes for our lives and relationships. The opportunity for new life, even in the face of death. We can follow the Way of Jesus, who was the ultimate embodiment of “beginning again” through his death and resurrection.


Yours in Christ,

Kevin+

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