Saturday, May 1, 2010

May 1 – Adaptable

For all those in Cor Unum who are keeping to a monastic schedule of “conversatio,” of commitment to change and conformity to the image of Christ, this is the morning of a new resolution. We are committed to small, irrevocable steps that will not be cast aside, that matter in our lives, to fixed resolutions that result in permanent change from which we do not look back as we seek to bear the image of Jesus Christ.

We said at the beginning of our monastic year that the big resolutions that won’t be kept are not for us. We decided to content ourselves with small changes that instead won’t be forsaken; some are taking a daily walk, some are limiting television time or cutting out snacks or praying for at least five minutes where, formerly, time wasn’t taken for prayer at all.

Here is an interesting observation to help us along the way: many of the “great” men and women of history, many of the busiest and most productive, were astonishingly able to CHANGE, to change dramatically and rapidly.

John Adams, ambassador, patriot and President, is a good example of this characteristic. From farm boy to Harvard student to teacher to lawyer to representative . . . then negotiator, ambassador, Vice-President, which he, as have many of his successors, found to be a necessary but stifling task, and then Chief Executive. In between, he was farmer John. Always, he was learning, learning, learning. His wife Abigail did the same. From privileged daughter to hard-working young mistress of the Adams’ home, mother, farmer, socialite, politician’s wife . . . farmer again . . . from Braintree, Massachusetts to the President’s House and back again to the farm, Abigail met every challenge. Imagine going from the most prestigious residence in the land, to return to straining milk in the morning, back on the farm!

Monastic devotion and discipline do not preclude adaptation. In fact, one of the hallmarks of our devotion will always be that we are able to make changes and undergo difficulties and distractions without losing our devotion or forsaking the good disciplines we have incorporated. In the monastery, tasks are rotated, the liturgical season and schedule changes, authority can change again and again in a lifetime. Let us consider today: have we made the changes that will help us to maintain progress? Are we holding back or resisting change instead of implementing discipline and devotion in our lives?

Change is constant! Let us meet change head-on and make it work for us, by the grace of God, here in the place where His glory dwells, undimmed by all the changes of all the ages.

"Everything Old is New Again!"
photo by Kerry

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