Tuesday, January 5, 2010
January 3 - Cor Unum Abbey
Had you entered the Abbey on January 1, today would be your third and last full day among the professed nuns. You will spend the next years with other postulants and novices during much of the day, but in the wisdom of your superiors you would have passed the first hours of your enclosure among those who had found their joy and settled into peace rather than with those who, like you, were looking for them.
A “little mother” would have been assigned to you, helping you find your way through the corridors of the abbey and find your place in the be-ribboned books of prayer and worship, and if there happened to be any special feast days among those first three, you would have had the privilege, as the youngest member of the community, of leading the others into the chapel to recite and sing the Divine Office.
We do not come into Christ like that, but it might help if we did! Imagine spending the first days of faith with Watchman Nee and Corrie ten Boom and Hannah Whitall Smith and Andrew Murray, walking the halls of righteousness with them, hearing their whispers of explanation and encouragement.
You would have been given your first reading assignment, likely the compact “Rule of St. Benedict” to read and read again during those first hours. From the very beginning, your days would have been hemmed in and highlighted by Scripture and study, by prayer and praise, worship and work, discipline and devotion, and fellowship to season your faith. A common thread among those who write of their cloistered lives is the impression that monastic joy and laughter made on them when they entered.
It is a good idea to make sure we are planted among the professed, among those who know the fundamental elements of faith in Jesus Christ. Do those we know, and those who know us, understand what Jesus has accomplished for us? Do their lives reflect what He will accomplish in us?
Tomorrow we will talk a little about the unique vows of the Benedictine. I think you will find them not only interesting but pertinent to the heart’s cloister. For now, here is a consideration: the young entreatant at the threshold of the monastery is given a greeting in the name of the Lord and asked, “What do you seek?”
“What do you seek?” as you come to the door of Cor Unum Abbey?* If it is good, it is found in Christ. If what you seek is perfect, it is accomplished in Him, our hearts' Foundation.
* “Cor Unum” is Latin for “One Heart.” It is also the name given by the von Trapp family to their mountain home when they settled in America.
Photo by Kerry