The second half of the eighth line of St. Romuald’s Brief Rule reads: “…like a chick who tastes nothing and eats nothing but what his mother gives him.” My translation of this part of the line changes the gender to make it more inclusive: “…like a chick who tastes nothing and eats nothing but what her mother gives her.”
The entire last line of my translation of the Brief Rule is: “Empty yourself completely and sit waiting, content with the grace of God, like a chick who tastes nothing and eats nothing, but what her mother gives her.”
So we are advised to sit, like a dependent newborn bird, and wait for whatever it is our mother decided to regurgitate into our mouths. Not exactly the image of receiving God’s grace that I want to carry around all day long. But there is something profound and humbling about the ‘helplessness’ of our situation and our utter dependence upon provisions of God. We are to sit empty and wait, open and expectant, for a taste of grace. While I don’t like the image of the regurgitating mother, I do like the maternal instinct that does whatever it can to ensure the chick is fed. If we focus on the helplessness of the bird we may become discouraged. But if we focus on the tenacity and persistence of the mother bird in feeding the chick, then we have a rich and exciting perspective of God’s desire to feed us as we sit in stillness. We do not sit for months waiting to be fed. We sit, in stillness, hungry for grace and God, the ever attentive mother bird, feeds us enough so that we might grow and mature in the faith.
So sit, and wait empty; you will be fed!