When I was very little – just learning to talk and at the stage when I tried to repeat every word that was said to me – my parents taught me to say “Benedictine Sanctuary of Perpetual Adoration.” I think they thought it was funny and cute for this little thing to be able to say such big words. Of course, I had no idea what those words meant, but I did know that they were the name of the big building on the hill that we often passed because it was close to our house in Kansas City. Whenever we would pass it, they would always ask me what it was. I would tell them and they always seemed so pleased with me, so I know that saying “Benedictine Sanctuary of Perpetual Adoration” made me happy because it made my parents happy.
When we moved to Tucson, we were delighted to find that there was a Benedictine Sanctuary of Perpetual Adoration here. It seemed I was fated to live in cities that had Benedictine Sanctuaries in them. While I never went inside the Benedictine Sanctuary in Kansas City, I have been inside the one in Tucson. I donate money to them for several reasons. One is just in memory of my parents and that little girl who loved them. Another is that the Benedictine Sanctuary of Perpetual Adoration in Tucson is a lovely, old building and they now have solar panels in their parking lot. Finally, I give them money to support their life style, which is primarily to pray for the world. I just like the idea of the sisters in perpetual adoration – perpetual prayer for everyone. I am happy that someone does this.
This is a long way of explaining why I get their magazine every two months, which they send to me because of my donations. I always look at the pictures to see what the sisters are up to. I also sometimes read the short articles. One this month that I read was called “Crossing Paths.” In it the author, Scott Coverdale, talks about how each day is the only one we have and we need to be aware of its beauty and potential, because soon it will be gone. He also writes about all the people we cross paths with each day and how it is easy to not really see them or pay attention to them because we are so busy. He offers an alternative which is to “regard the stranger as though she were God, or at least as though he was a person with whom we need to reckon, who deserves our regard.” I like this idea of looking at everyone as if they were divine. There is a Buddhist practice of keeping yourself open to miracles and looking at each person as if he was a Buddha or an angel. They say if you look for miracles, they will happen; but if you look at everything and everyone as normal, you will only see normal. The author of the article says that if we can really look at others as if they were God, it makes our lives so much richer and it offers the potential of the intersections in our lives, the crossing paths, to be moments of significance. It’s hard work to be able to do this all the time, in fact it may be nearly impossible – but it is certainly worth trying.