InFocus Series: Meet Elba Rodriguez, Colombia

Elba Rodriguez

A blue sunny sky and a gentle breeze cuddled the mid morning hours of an early autumn day. I noticed how peaceful and carefree I had been feeling as I strolled towards a narrow alley. I swerved to a quiet luscious garden after seeing that a man on the other end was absorbed in the task of pressure washing the path I was to follow. My attention turned to the quietness of the garden; the noise from the pressure washer had dwindled away and the sound of chirping birds was now moving through the air… What if I wore a helmet that would let me experience the frenzy of London life, as most people know it? It all seemed bizarre considering that my latest experience of London had been anything but hurried frenzy; I discarded the idea and returned my attention to the different colors and motions around me. I would have lived that same moment in a different manner had not been for the deepened affinity with life gained through the intense and nourishing work of prayer and meditation, especially during the past year.

My journey with contemplative practices started when I was a post-graduate engineering student in Florida and the active connection with the community appeared more than a decade after that. A combination of career pause and an underlying search for meaning were the triggers that pushed me to re-evaluate my personal, professional and spiritual journey. I was led to the Oblate path at that pivotal moment. If this path would allow such inner transformation and a new outlook on life altogether, it was then worth it to experience it and allow myself to be propelled by that force which nurtures one’s daily existence. After a period of pondering that included conversations with other Oblates and Father Laurence, I was determined to extend my already stretched career break for another period in order to be part of the small lay Benedictine community in London.

It has been a year since that day in early October when I arrived at Meditatio House. Little I knew about living in a contemporary form of community like ours. The lessons learned have been enormous and my understanding of our community has been expanding, disassembling, and assembling organically over time. Despite all fluctuations over the months, the meditation periods have always been there to be honored and to recount what is important in the finitude of the daily hours.

The 30th of September symbolizes my entry as an Oblate of the WCCM. Looking back, I am able to appreciate how this time of deepening has helped to gradually unpack answers to some of my complex questions. I can say that the intensity of this year has granted many things including an infused new vigor to traverse the unknown, a feeling of being embraced by the sweet love of God and a passion to effusively embrace life as the special gift it is.

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