Chapter 59 of Benedict’s Rule deals with the offering of sons and property to the monastery. Because this practice is foreign to my Christian traditioning, I must look for an abiding principle within the specific practice.
What I find here is the principle of preparing in advance for those things we hope to see either in ourselves or in others.
Our predecessors in the faith would make offerings of children as oblates and property as donations well in advance of their actually becoming part of the holdings of the monastery. Once made, the commitment became a formative influence that turned an intention into an action.
We may never offer our children or our property to religious institutions, but we need to realize that the decisions we make today definitely affect the lives we live later on. We are constantly setting trajectories for ourselves and others.
When we have those moments when we ask, “How did I get here?”–often the answer is, “By the previous decisions we have made.” We must prepare in advance if we hope to end up where we expect to eventually be.