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Me, me, me! Lent always ends up being a season of spiritual growth for me. Over the years this has manifested in obvious ways (e.g., being received into the Roman Catholic church during Easter Vigil). Sometimes it takes until Pentecost for me to notice how what was seeded during Lent has taken root and started growing.
This year? Hard not to notice ─ in real time ─ growth for me qua me and member of the Virtual Abbey community. And I should probably note that many changes have come about because I participate in the Virtual Abbey community. We, we, we!
As Raima has explained, our leadership team spent part of Lent discerning what would be next for us. Our commitment to offering night prayer (Compline) via Twitter had expanded to include morning prayer (Matins). Not only were more people joining us in prayer, but we were receiving many more "back channel" kudos and prayer requests. Our conversation about inclusive language generated lots of reader comments which, in turn, helped us clarify why we remain focused on praying the Daily Office.
Raima's stated intention to step down as Abbess prompted a discussion about whether we wanted or needed an Abbott or Abbess moving forward. We used the Twitter stream, direct messages, emails, and eventually a conference call to explore these issues, discovering along the way just how much we've become church-beyond-building-or-denomination to one another.
By Easter, we'd decided to sustain a fairly traditional structure for our social media-based community and I answered the call to serve as Abbess. What that role involves will become more clear over time. For now, I'll continue editing this blog as well as advancing the conversation about being (or becoming) a modern monastic.
Coming soon: reviews of resources for living at the intersection of technology and liturgical expression; hints for living in a Benedictine-like lifestyle in the 21st century; primers for prayer. Here right now: play lists of music via our new YouTube channel.
So there you have it, a few highlights from this year's Lent and Easter ─ on the way to Pentecost (in 29 days). I'm grateful to find myself rooted in the Virtual Abbey and growing along with a Christ-centered, spiritually generous, and extraordinarily good-humored leadership team. Thanks be to God!