Friday, December 31, 2010
December 31, 2010 – One Year Ago Today
A year ago, on this very day, I sat praying on the sofa in my office, praying about the New Year and my involvement in it, looking into my at-home devotional monasticism, and I decided to share it.
I made a start; I took us that night into the cloister of Benedictine nuns at Regina Laudis Abbey, and before long, we were our own monastery of devoted men and women, learning anew what it is to contemplate, worship, intercede, discipline our lives, and find our joy in the One Who Gave His Life that we might.
In the autumn of the year circumstances slowed me down a bit, but I knew that the nuns of Cor Unum were well able to carry on. As Advent advanced into our winter world, a terrible battle advanced into mine, a battle of life and death. How thankful I have been through this time for all that I’ve learned of “Quiet Delight,” of “Conversatio,” of holding on to the Lord we love, not letting go until He blesses us.
For all of us, we have seen this year that our God is far from “bothered” with our pursuit of His nearness and blessing. If there are needy souls in life who cling to others and try their patience and their love, the answer for them and for us is to let that neediness be acknowledged at the feet of Jesus. We can never need Him or want Him too much. We can never be too close to God. It is impossible to call upon Him TOO FAITHFULLY!
We’ve seen the battle this year, too – the wickedness of those who come but to steal, kill, and destroy. We have learned that the Lord will contend with those who contend with us, and that He intends that we should pursue them, and not turn back until they are consumed. I’m in a place now where that is the only option. Their hatred is cruel; their lies seem to rise from a bottomless spring of vile intention. Those that perpetrate them will occupy a bottomless pit in time.
During these last days of this year, I’ve seen the difference that the discipline of the past year has made; just now, it isn’t the “Divine Hours” of my day that hold me together, it is rather the divine effect they have had. Even now, tired and emotionally drained at times, it is always comforting to pick up the Sword of the Spirit Scriptures I have been using for the last several years and pray over my family and loved ones before I sleep.
When I awake, how powerfully precious it is to turn aside the flood of morning thoughts and fears with the daily anthem, “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty; heaven and earth are filled with Your Glory!”
What would I do in this hour if I did not know that perfect love casts out fear, had I not practiced the efficacy of that truth?
In a very real way, right now is not about me, but about a man lying in a hospital bed, barely able to speak aloud and not able to eat . . . unless today brings a new blessing into our lives, as I hope it will. Nevertheless, with the Lord, it is always about us. As the Lord looks upon “them,” He looks for “us” to bring His mercy and love and joy and peace and power near. As He looks upon “us,” He expects us to be looking to “them,” to minister the reality of the Kingdom of God in their lives.
As our beloved Corrie ten Boom taught, and illustrated with a swatch of embroidered cloth, God is weaving something beautiful in our lives and theirs, all together, and though we often see only the underside, He sees the majestic, the glorious, the divine panorama as He “works in us, both to will and to do His good pleasure.” His good pleasure pleases us more this New Year’s Eve than even it did last year, and so it will continue, year by year, here in Cor Unum, the monastery of the heart. In truth, “the nearness of God is our good.” Amen.