A story to ponder…

Written by on March 28, 2011

I was doing some reading this afternoon and I came across a story that I haven’t been able to stop thinking about. So I thought I would share it with you and let it do some stirring in your mind and heart.

There once was an old monk, wise and holy, who lived in a monastery set far back in the woods. In addition to being wise and holy, the monk was also considered to be somewhat scattered as he would often go wandering off into the woods and not return when he was expected. His neglect of meals troubled the prior, his neglect of community prayer scandalized some of the brothers, and his neglect of visitors who had come to see him irritated the guest master. And so it was that one day, after being reminded that he had visitors coming mid-afternoon, the old monk headed off into the woods and did not return in time for his guests’ arrival… After waiting for several hours, the visitors decided to walk into the woods themselves in search of the wise and holy monk. They wandered deeper and deeper into the woods. As the light began to fade, they realized that they were lost. In a panic they began to search in earnest, calling the monk’s name. Finally, as darkness descended, one of the group stumbled over something and looked down to find the monk curled up under a tree asleep. “We found you!” they exclaimed. “Wonderful! Now you can show us the way out.” Getting to his feet the monk replied, “Ah…that is a problem. You see, I know many ways into the woods but I am never sure how to get out. If we work together, perhaps together we can find a way out.”[1]

Reflection & Conversation: • What jumps out to you in this story?Given your current set of life circumstances, responsibilities and relationships,  with whom do you identify most in the story? The monk…The guests…The prior…The guestmaster…The brothers? Elaborate…in what ways do you identify?What in the world does this have to do with the work of discipleship and leadership in your context?

[1] Jane E. Regan, Toward an Adult Church: A Vision of Faith Formation, (Loyola Press, 2002) 143-144.

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