The most important thing about monks, Basil Hume OSB says, is that they do nothing in particular. They are just there. We do not see ourselves as having any particular mission or function in the Church. We do not set out to change the course of history. We are there almost by accident from a human point of view and happily we go on just being there.
As the Dominican Meister Eckhart wrote in the 14th century, “People should not worry so much about what they should do, rather about what they should be. If we and our ways are good, then what we do will be radiant.”
I remember that when I was a university chaplain a wise old man told me that my job was to be the one person who had no particular role. I was just there “to loiter with intent”, to hang around. Perhaps my Benedictine education prepared me for that!
[Basil Hume: By His Friends, Fount 1999, London, p. 52]