Benedictine Practices for a Balanced Life

Lynne Smith, OSB Living in Community, Uncategorized Leave a Comment

Benedictine spirituality aims at helping the sisters at Holy Wisdom Monastery live a balanced life. It provides time for prayer, work, leisure and study. We have time built into the day and week for solitude and time with others. The various activities of our days serve to integrate the body, mind, spirit and soul over the course of our lives. Manual labor and service to others keeps us from being in our head all day. Prayer keeps us from expending all our energy outward giving us time to go inward and reflect. Study stimulates our intellect and provides for growth and renewal. Welcoming and serving others focusses us on others rather than solely on ourselves. Moderation in all things brings balance to our lives.

Balance is not something static or rigid like finally getting my life in order and then letting nothing disturb that order. It’s not like learning to stand in tree pose for the rest of our lives. A balanced life is more like riding a surf board over the waves of life. In order to stay balanced on the board, one has constantly to make adjustments with the waves. I’m not a surfer, but I think one needs a strong core in order to ride the waves and stay upright on the board.  

Even with the structure that Benedictine life offers, we often need to make adjustments due to internal forces such as health matters or external forces such as COVID. When that happens, a strong core helps us re-orient our lives and calls us to what is most important. At the center/core of Benedictine life is Christ. We find Christ in the Scriptures, in worship and in community. The process of coming back again and again to our core slowly, over the course of the years, brings us integration and wholeness.

At Holy Wisdom Monastery we share our Benedictine way of life with others because the core practices of Benedictine spirituality can lead people to wholeness whether they are living in a monastery or outside. Our oblates, members of Sunday Assembly, Friends of Wisdom Prairie, retreatants and others live these practices in a way that fits their lives.

On Saturday, March 27, 2021, from 2:00-4:00 pm central daylight time, Sister Denise West and I will lead a virtual experience, Benedictine Practices for a Balanced Life, for single women 20-40 to introduce some of the core Benedictine practices that can help in maintaining a balanced life. If you or a woman you know are interested, I invite you to register and share this with them. If you have questions, you may contact me: or 608-609-9748.

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