Each Day is a new Beginning

September 12, 2015 | Monastic Musings

Reflections from some of the nuns

I heard a story about a small pelican community on the west coast of the US. Since the turn of the last century these pelicans had been feeding on the waste from a fish processing factory which was left on the wharf, a rich diet of bone and entrail. A few years ago the factory owners struck a deal with a vitamin company to use all those scraps in their fish oil capsules. There was no longer a ready supply of food for the pelicans and they had forgotten how to fish.

In an attempt to save these starving birds, a few young pelicans were introduced from another colony and within a short period of time the young had taught the old – and they ‘remembered’ how to fish. The colony is now thriving.

What a wonderful story this is. St Benedict knows something of the wisdom inherent here when he exhorts the abbot to listen to the young, for the Holy Spirit may speak through the youngest in the community. He also encourages the monk to consider herself always a beginner and refers to the Rule as a ‘little rule for beginners’. What a wonderful way to keep each day fresh! Convinced that with every dawn there is something new to learn, my eyes are kept bright to look and my ears tuned to listen for the voice of the Lord speaking through the people and daily circumstances of my life.

There is an incredible relief in knowing that I do not have to know it all – today.

Trees at sunset

Sr Magdalen Mather osb