Sunday, January 10, 2010
January 11 - The Unspoken Word
Of all the words in all the world, only imagine which one the Benedictine nun will have to eradicate from her vocabulary?
“Gee whiz!” and “Golly!” had to be curtailed in the ’fifties, and there are some that 21st century postulants will have to forsake, to be sure, but the one that might surprise you is the word . . . “mine.”
She sleeps at night in “our cell” . . . hers and the Lord’s. If it is askew, she has to straighten “our veil,” and, on the table beside her bed, even the little Bible, of which the Lord has slight personal use, being Himself so inexpressibly familiar with the text, is “ours.”
The Benedictine nun may own nothing, may call nothing “mine” whatsoever, except her sins.
I remember a man saying once that his wife had one little habit that discomposed him: she referred to everything they owned as “mine.” “My television,” “my “dining room,” and “my children.” It was a small thing, just a trifle, but he had to overlook it in order to love her freely. With Benedictine Sisters, they overcome possessiveness in order to love their Lord more freely.
Here is a practice we will not aspire to adopt. Those with whom we live and work won’t hear us refer to “our briefcase” or “our lipstick” any time soon, but it is very entertaining to use this plural possessive pronoun in prayer.
What’s more, it is very enlightening.
Tomorrow marks the culmination of our first eleven days of “conversatio.” We maintain the first conversion - perhaps we haven’t had that third cup of coffee for eleven days, or perhaps we have limited our television viewing and spent the savings on the Lord - and now, we consider and add another small transformation. Remember . . . we add to the first, choosing something that we really will (or will not) do for eleven days.
Maybe some of us will stop saying “Gee whiz!” at last!
"Cleared For Take Off!"
Photo by Kerry