Saturday, January 16, 2010

January 18 - Streams in the Desert

Those who have been charged with the spiritual growth of others in houses of religion know that virtually every monastic will face seasons and even epochs of spiritual aridity and doubt.

Centuries of enclosure for the purpose of undiluted devotion have not been without result. Monastics have learned from one another and from those who have gone before them. Benedictines have taken tips from Cistercian practices and Franciscans from Carmelites. Applicants are advised concerning "the life" before entrance, but no counsel can replace the assurance that, if a calling is true, God Himself will sustain it.

The superior knows how to steer postulants and novices through the straits of loneliness and questioning and into the lives of devotion they seek to live. A rudder must be set early to help newer "religious" navigate in choppy seas, and those who have been around awhile must keep a hand on the same tiller. The ages and sages can offer no better direction than this: a true monastic must not come and does not stay in order to experience a fountain of delights. Those who catch the wind of the devoted life are those who are there to GIVE GLORY TO GOD, to refresh Him with their worship and their steadfast prayers for others, taking part in His heavenly life of intercession.

When this matter is settled, the devoted soul, theirs and ours, can rest and abide in the shade that is found at the right hand of God (Psalm 121:5)

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