Esther de Waal notes that the invitation to set out on our journey with Christ comes to us as an arousal of our will, an awakening out of apathy (p. 28).
Some have called it a sense of urgency, meaning that it is an invitation which creates a sense that we must, indeed, act upon it.
Eugene Peterson tells the story of three apprentice devils who were being sent by Satan to their tour of duty on earth. Before they left, they reported to Satan what they intended to do.
The first said he would tell people there is no God. The second said he would tell people there is no hell.
The third took a different approach. “I will tell them,” he said, “that there is no hurry.”
Satan told the third devil, “Go, tell them that, and you’ll ruin them by the millions.”
We hear God’s call in different ways. There is no one-size-fits-all word. But whatever form the invitation takes, it always comes with the sense that we must respond.
This is because, says de Waal, that God’s call always deals with significant aspects of our lives, e.g. how can we find healing from brokenness and move by grace into wholeness?
The Rule of Benedict is an invitation, but it comes with the sense of motivation. The life proposed in the Rule is not one we can put off. It is a life that must be entered into here and now.