I’ve always been intrigued by the question people ask Jesus at the end of the age, “When did we see you?” It is a question asked by folks just like us—people who lived through the days of their lives without the perception that true spirituality gives.
When it all comes down to the end, the spiritual life revolves around having eyes to see and having ears to hear—what Henri Nouwen called “paying attention.”
Everything in Benedict’s Rule is moving us into the aim of heightened awareness. If God is in the ordinary moments, then we look for God there. If God is revealed in hiddenness, then we listen for God there. If the truly important things are the “little” things, then we condition ourselves to live contentedly in them.
We leave the “spectacular” and the “public” behind, realizing that even at their its best, they are usually made up of multiple, competing voices—some of whom actually lead us to a distracted freneticism in which the vision and voice of God is lost.
De Waal rightly notes that the purpose of the Rule is to see Christ (p. 31), and when we see him, we will follow him wherever he leads us. In this way, she shows, Christ is both the start and the goal of our journey.