Monday, March 3, 2014

Stability (Monday Morning in the Desert)

I often fall into the temptation of wishing that I were somewhere else.  As they say, "the grass is always greener on the other side."  I know better than to fall into that kind of wishful thinking, but I do it anyway.

St. Benedict also knew better, which is why one of the vows that Benedictine monks make is the vow of stability. Before St. Benedict, the Desert Fathers also taught the importance of stability:

"A hermit said, 'A tree cannot bear fruit if it is often transplanted.  So it is with the monk."

"It used to be said that if you were tempted where you were living, you should not leave the place at the time of temptation.  If you did leave it then, you would find that the temptation that you were fleeing would go with you to the next place. You should be patient till temptation is over, then you could leave without upsetting anyone or troubling others who lived there."

(From pp. 71-72 of "The Desert Fathers: Sayings of the Early Christian Monks", translated by Benedict Ward). 


  1. In part the Benedictine teaching about stability became part of my thinking and commitment to stay at Ruthven as long as I did. Now, "stability" encourages me here in Grundy Center. Yup; can become part of "peace of mind" rather than looking for greener pastures.

  2. Luther, thank you for sharing how that aspect of the Rule of St. Benedict has shaped your life. I'm just starting to scratch the surface of how the Benedictine ethos will shape my life as a pastor.