Here’s a fantastic short video by Catholic Bishop Robert Barron, who stands at Subiaco, where St. Benedict first retreated to his cave (you see the cave in the clip) when he left Rome. Bishop Barron talks about what we have to learn from the Benedictines today. The clip is five minutes long, but if you know the basics of Benedict’s life, you can fast-forward to the three-minute mark. It’s really worth it. The bishop says that Benedict symbolizes a “hunkering down” within the Church, a time for gathering our strength so that, in the future, we can go out into the world. Bishop Barron quotes G.K. Chesterton (though not by name), who said that St. Benedict stored up, and St. Francis, who came six centuries later, scattered.
Bishop Barron says that he was raised in the aftermath of Vatican II, at which the Catholic Church took the decision to be radically open to the modern world. He says that was probably called for at the time. But:
“One begins to wonder, at least I do, is there a time for a certain retrenchment now? Are we going through a time of of some degree of a civilizational crisis, not unlike the one that Benedict faced, when we too have to remember to hunker down, to hang on to what’s good, true, beautiful and durable in the Great Tradition, because a too-open attitude can lead to a loss of identity.”
He suggests that we take a “new inspiration” from Benedict’s example. And, as you know, so do I.
Here’s a link to the page on which I found this clip (actually, two readers sent it to me). It’s a donations page for Word On Fire, the Catholic ministry founded by Bishop Barron. If you’re Catholic, I encourage you to consider supporting it. Bishop Barron is the best communicator the Catholic Church in America has, a Fulton Sheen for the 21st century.
As Bryant explains, you’ve got the Bénédictine in honor of St. Benedict; you’ve got a Walker Percy reference (Early Times was Percy’s favorite and Percy, a Benedictine oblate, is a favorite of Dreher); and you’ve got a drink resembling an Old Fashioned in which you have availed yourself of the “option” of using Bénédictine instead of simple syrup. Beautiful.
The Bénédictine Option is the perfect drink after a long day in the strategically-withdrawn bunker and the ideal stimulus for “an intentional and thoughtful retreat into narrativity.” Indeed, the greater the number of Bénédictine Options, the more creative, no doubt, will be the narrativity.
Verily. Follow this link for the recipe. My work here is done, people.