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Prologue of the Great Text of the Rule by Peter Menkin

by Peter Menkin  
1/19/2009 / Poetry

Swept Away

My call by God led me to become a Benedictine Oblate. It has been 12 years, including postulancy. Sometimes I feel as if I must abandon myself to Christ in the spirit and life, to go down the path of the Way and meet God on the mountains he's offered me, by grace.

Swami Abishiktananda was swept away by God. As is said on the back cover of the book, "The Life of Swami Abhishiktananda: The Cave of the Heart,"

"This is the moving account of the extraordinary life of the French Benedictine and Indian sannyasi, Henri Le Saus/Swami Abhishktananda, whose search for the Absolute carried him beyond the boundaries of established religion."

As Father Henri Le Saus writes in a letter:

"You are free, instead of being jammed together in trains or buses. There are enchanting solitudes and wonderful times of silence. Think of it, no noise of engines, no motor-horns, no trains, no radios or loudspeaders, etc. The solitude of Shantivanam is nothing compared to it. You cross hills and valleys, climbing up and down. Sometimes you follow beside a river, one of the streams which join up to form the Ganges, along a narrow valley beside the swift torrent...sheer cliffs on either side, maybe 500-1000 metres high. Then with the Ganges, you descend towards the plain. The Himalayas open up, hills are less high, the Ganges spreads out, divides up and enters the plain to make it fertile."

From the book, The Life of Swami Abhishiktananda: The Cave of the Heart, by Shirley du Boulay, published by Orbis Books, Maryknoll, New York, p. 171.

Christ was swept away by God. (See the quote below.)

It is a powerful and awesome thing to be caught in the hands of the great God of our Bible. Mary was swept away, by obedience. I think to myself and say in prayer that I dare to think of being swept away. These can be powerful calls for any of us. But Christ's call was awesomely special, as is noted in his mountain experience by the writer Brother Ramon SSF in the book, "The Prayer Mountain."

"Many things were happening on the mountain of transfiguration, but as the Collect reminded us, the shadow of the Cross had fallen across Jesus' path. After his baptism, driven in the wilderness, he had rejected the worldly and ambitious ploys to gain power or win favour. It had become clear to him that his path was that of Messiah for Israel, then the very word had to be emptied of its military and nationalistic accretions. He had already understood that such a Messiah would tread the path of suffering, and in some mysterious way that suffering would be redemptive. This was the basic impulse that drew him towards Tabor."

by Peter Menkin (2001)

Savoring the words of meaning
in The Rule is an offering
for understanding
"...let us open
our eyes to the light..."
and come to know language--arise from a sleep
--to listen.

Saint Benedict!
Awakening heart and mind, in His goodness
stirring the fear of God, King, Christ the Lord
through the words of "...this message of mine..."
notes the sloth
of disobedience is in us. Calls to ears that listen
"Run while you have the light..."
inviting all to the voice of the Lord;
call delightful, what is more?

Recently, I learned through my agent Kelly Morris in Ohio, that two print publications will print poems of mine in Fall, 2007: Ruah: A Journal of Spiritual Poetry will print, "Poetic Recitation on The Rule of St. Benedict," Western Quarterly will print a poem (can't remember the title), and the web site Sacred Journey has a poem posted. I am pleased to be noticed.

An audio reading of the poem by the poet is found here:

Peter Menkin, an aspiring poet, lives in Mill Valley, CA USA where he writes poetry. He is an Oblate of Immaculate Heart Hermitage, Big Sur, CA and that means he is a Camaldoli Benedictine. He is 64 years of age as of 2010.

Copyright Peter Menkin

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