Fourth and finally, there are the monks called gyrovagues, who spend their entire lives drifting from region to region, staying as guests for three or four days in different monasteries. Always on the move, they never settle down, and are slaves to their own wills and gross appetites.1
Back in St. Benedict’s day, there were monks that simply moved from monastery to monastery, taking advantage of the hospitality of their brother monks. Benedict doesn’t lift up these “gyrovagues” in his Rule but instead calls his monks to commit to a single place ( a single monastery) for life.
St. Benedict knew something we need to be reminded of from time to time. This “stability” that Benedict writes about in his rule is quite relevant to all of us, whether we are monks or not. Let me explain what I mean.
Over the years, I’ve noticed something about living my life as a Christ follower. It’s much easier to leave than to stay. Would you agree? It’s easier to quit a particular ministry than it is to stay and provide leadership to that ministry. It’s easier to walk away from a church that may not be all that we want it to be than to stay and faithfully serve God. It’s always easier to quit.
I think about quitting all the time. I often feel pretty inadequate as a leader and so the thing I’d rather do is quit. By far, the easiest thing for me would be to quit and let it become someone else’s problem. I could give a big sigh of relief and move on to another monastery, err, I mean church, where people will treat me well and little will be required of me. Yet, God calls me to simply be faithful. To persevere. To not give up.
Perhaps we all need to be reminded from time to time to “hang in there.” That we are making a difference even if we can’t always see it. In my experience, quitting isn’t usually what’s best for us or for the kingdom. Commit to a place, to a church, or to a friendship and hang in there. It’s for our own good and often, it’s for the good of the kingdom
1 The Rule of St. Benedict, Timothy Fry, Editor. Liturgical Press, 1982.