Learning from the Monks

A reflection by Ben McAnany • As we approach Thanksgiving, we give thanks for friends like Ben. We hope you enjoy this reflection!


Growing up attending a Jesuit high school and college made me learn to love and appreciate the phrase “men for others”. It’s the Society of Jesus way of saying, “go, serve others and you will live a wonderful life.” It means that service to others should never go out of style. I love having that call to action, one that Pope Francis embraces each day; I take it as a challenge to myself to dedicate each day to helping others.

But service cannot be complete without fellowship in Christ. In college, I did not have the major spiritual aspect of service to others. The Monks of St. Benedict’s Abbey are examples of what it means to be “spiritual men for others.” Beyond praying 5 times each day, they embrace the challenge to help bring the kingdom of heaven down to earth. They serve others in the classroom and in their homes. They preach selflessness and caring for others. But, mostly, they embrace their call to always be students of God – after all, Saint Benedict is the patron saint of students.

They challenge other men and women spiritually and help them serve the world. Not only are they men of God, they serve all men and women for God. It is through their actions and prayer that we can stand to bring the kingdom of heaven to earth. They truly define what it means to be men for others. That is something I want to stand behind and serve. That is the reason why a Jesuit educated student (like me) can continue to learn from the monks of St. Benedict’s Abbey.