Much ink has been spilled this year over “the Benedict Option,” Rod Dreher’s sweeping cultural assessment adjuring Christians to create and invest in life-giving physical communities and to dig down deep to set roots for transmitting the faith to future generations in the face of an increasingly faithless world.
There has been criticism and accolade, but apart from the book itself, little mention of the man himself, Saint Benedict of Nursia whose feast we celebrate today, has made its way into the public discourse. Saint Benedict was the father of Western monasticism, preserver of culture (whether by accident or design), and creator of a radical new-old way of living the Gospel literally, tangibly, and with an intensity that his opulent age could scarcely fathom.
Jesus tells us in today’s Gospel, “[T]he harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest,” (Luke 10:2) and I wonder, reading that line, who is the master, and why is he not answering Jesus’ call for a more robust workforce?
If the Father is indeed the master of the harvest—which we know Him to be—and He is indeed answering the call of the Son, sending out laborers for His harvest, then what’s the missing link here?
You and me and your neighbor lady and the guy who made your coffee this morning.
We are the laborers, and this—this world, this culture you are part of, this society you dwell in—is the harvest.
And if the harvest is looking thin indeed, then you and I had better get to looking in the mirror and having a literal come-to-Jesus with ourselves about why, exactly, that might be.
Saint Benedict answered the call God had on his life. He left everything behind and he sparked a revolution. God is asking you and me to do nothing less, however far reaching or visible the outcome. Your revolution might take place bent over spreadsheets or a changing table, but you are being called to something lofty, something impossibly holy, and something that only, uniquely you can do.
When the Master calls, let us answer “Yes.”
Jenny Uebbing is a freelance writer and editor for Catholic News Agency. She lives in Denver, Colorado with her husband Dave and their small army of toddlers. You can find out more about her faith, thoughts on bioethics, and potty training failures here.