Tuesday, March 30, 2010

March 30 – Make Lemonade!

One of the chief glories of life in Cor Unum . . . in any monastery . . . is that of the glory of purpose.

Take for instance the unwilling submission of the woman and the sweat of the brow of the man. Monastics have taken both submission and labor from curse to centerpiece!

It is to the postulant’s glory to learn to obey others because they represent, to her, submission to God. She chose the house, Jesus Christ is Lord of the house, the Superior is His agent for good in the house. From the newest postulant to the most wizened old nun, obedience is a glory, and everyone glories in it.

How difficult it is for most of us to fully understand the labor of worship!

The Opus Dei, the Work of God, to the monastic is the full spectrum of life lived for the purpose of remembering His Presence and glorying in it, and of bringing glory to Him through the constant remembrance of His goodness. The constant worship of Jesus Christ, coupled with the elevation of worship, fellowship and work to a divine pinnacle, give purpose to every hour.

Thus, in the more traditional houses, along with six or seven daily Offices of prayer and worship, monks and nuns do not give themselves to enjoy a full night’s sleep. This is not because sleep is evil, but because they do wish and choose to commune with God in the night watches. They say by their choice, “I love You more than sleep,” and “I will watch with You in the night.” Day and night, the love of God and the reality of His Presence are celebrated and brought to bear over the whole purpose and atmosphere of the house.

There is much, much more to be said about the night watch, and we will look into it together, but while we are here together reading these words, somewhere, in nations that are otherwise fast asleep, monastics are worshiping God, praising Him, looking forward to a new day with Him, and praying for those around them, those who sleep more than in their beds. Around the world, thousands of monastic voices are singing praise to God at any given moment, not on Sundays alone, but every day. Thousands of monastic lives are submitting themselves to the rule of the house for the sake of the ongoing purpose of worship.

Here in Cor Unum, as in any exemplary house, not only the lemons that life hands out, but also the very bitterness of life itself has been sweetened by purpose, the purpose of
training our lives day by day until every day is a festival of submission and labor in the obedience of Christ our Lord.

"A Refreshing Pause"
photo by Kerry

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