Rod Dreher in his pivotal work Crunchy Cons concludes, like many of us, that we are waiting for future St. Benedicts to lead us back to a Christ-centered culture imbued with sobriety and meaning.
He focuses on St. Benedict because his rule was monumental for medieval life, forming the platform for the most essential institution to the Middle Ages: the monastery.
The good--and by good I mean tasty--news is that St. Benedict's monks have given us a real treat on their road map to becoming holy, which leads us to the title of this post, "Monastery Soup."
It was announced today at our staff meeting at Holy Family that our new lunch lady will be serving Benedictine Monastery soup everyday for the staff. If you have met Beth, you would know instantly that she is the real deal in terms of living a Catholic and sincere life. And you would also know that she is no joke when it comes to serving hearty monastery soup.
As you might imagaine, I was elated at the news of our new lunch option, and for many reasons. First, it's monastery soup, with the yummy recipes being taken from the book of the same name; its's available from Ligouri Press, I believe. Second, it's nice to have a daily ritual that creates the possibiliy of community outside the feeling of the workplace, more, say, than just hanging out with one or two people over a bagel.
Eating in common is an ancient tradition and creates the sense of "we're in this together" for all the participants. One reason this is effective for a new evangelization is that it creates a common bond, sending the message that in the work of God we come together to fulfill our basic human needs. It's also very tangible, as opposed to merely acknowledging the merits of some theory or ideology. You can point to an action, and concrete actions are needed if we ever are going to build a culture of life, especially one that is shared.
Even if nobody else comes, going down for the parish community's monastery soup is an excellent idea. It's just cool. So I am certainly looking forward to this new and hopefully lasting daily tradtion.
Over and out.