9/11 was a very surreal event for me. I was a novice Benedictine monk in Norcia, Italy. For me, the attacks happened in the afternoon. When I first heard the story from a friend, I thought he was just making up some joke. But he wasn't kidding. It was very sobering yet very upsetting. Since all of us in the monastery were from the U.S.A. we were all in a flurry of trying to find out more, wondering what was going on, and generally freaking out. Our Prior noticed this and sat us down in an impromptu chapter meeting, and very simply said one thing. He told us that a monk is not to panic when things get crazy, especially in situations like this where no amount of running around and gathering information will do any good. A monk is to just go to the foot of the Cross and remain there with our Lord. We left the impromptu chapter meeting rather sobered. He was exactly right.
Although I never went on to take vows, I am now a Benedictine novice oblate, and I have just remembered those words. The hard part is that it is much easier said than done. Although I can remember the words, when those times come it is very hard to just go to the foot of the Cross and remain there with our Lord. Yet how much solace that can give Him, to see us come to Him and willingly suffer with Him.
It seems right now is bordering on one of those times. Although I myself am not having the problem, a situation has arisen which has caused me to be in a flurry to find out more, wondering what is going on, and generally freaking out. There still may be a chance that I can help the situation, but it seems like it is becoming either more delicate or, without despairing, that the odds of a positive resolution are worse than I first thought. Spiritual battle can be very tough. The hard part is to see and accept that it is the Cross that actually gives me strength.
Another time, my Prior said something to me that I have found to be so true. He said, "there is no growth without suffering." Looking back over my life, I have found that to be so true. Maybe the suffering has been due to my own decisions, or maybe it has been because of others, but it is often in those times that I learned the most and gained wisdom. I hope that I am currently growing because this situation is causing me a great deal of internal suffering. In some sense, I guess all I can do right now is go to the foot of the Cross and remain there with our Lord.