Monday, February 22, 2010

February 23 – The Age-Old Question

After Matins and Lauds have been sung and chanted, after the prayers of Prime and the reflections and preparations that Terce affords, after Mass and the Benediction and following a period of private thanksgiving and the corporate prayer for blessing upon the work of the day, a Poor Claire nun files into the Rectory for breakfast of coffee and bread. Her devotional day has begun.

As long as there have been monastic practices, there have been naysayers, those who have and hold strenuous objections to rigid, liturgical practices of devotion and worship. On the other side of the issue, there are those who criticize casual Bible study and unsanctioned congregation.

Is it not true that some people leave churches because the service follows the order of worship too carefully, and some leave churches because the lack of order and liturgy kept them unsettled and made room for too much idiosyncrasy?

Would it not behoove us, here in Cor Unum, to embrace both the WORK and the WORSHIP of devotion? We are admonished both to seek hard after God AND to know that unless He draws us, we cannot attend. Let us not enter the arena of argument but, rather, take up instructions that cannot be as mutually exclusive as they appear.

God has required of us that we must seek Him with all our hearts, souls, minds and strength. Most of us are not fully formed in the fulness of such devotion. He also warned us to beware of those who have skilled themselves in discipline and forsaken the warmth of His love and spurned the leading of His Spirit. Being God, He has given to us both to pant after His Presence and to plod along when spiritual harvests are not yet ripe, and He has given us to be surprised by the joy we know when His grace absolutely circumvents our limitations.

We will have it all in Cor Unum, and we will continue to recall that for us it is not all or nothing, it is all INSTEAD of nothing, the “nothingness” that prevails when we neither diligently seek Him nor delightfully bask in His nearness and provisions. We plan and seek, so that we may pause and pray. We discipline our study and our schedules and even our gratitude, so that we may worship always, both in times of distress and danger, and when ease and peace would tempt us away from devotion.

"A Happy Contradiction"
photo by Kerry

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