One might think that the monastery could hardly know sadness. Have not the Sisters left behind all those things over which one might mourn?
There is a degree of truth in this. A woman enclosed at Regina Laudis Abbey, for instance, will never sorrow over those things that produce difficulty and strain and heartbreak in marriage, nor will she suffer vicariously when her children are teased or troubled in school or forlorn in romance or when they fail in the marketplace. Her friends will not often forsake her, unless they leave the monastery altogether, and they are under holy obligation to promote the love of God toward her. The worldly-close friendships she might have known will be superceded by those that are purposeful toward God.
Purpose toward God, once it is fixed, is ever healing. When once our life’s desire is to see God glorified in all things, our joy cannot be removed, for the glory that belongs to God alone will never be revoked or stolen.
As to sadness in the monastery, sorrow knows where to find us, whatever our address. Sorrow comes where love is, and monastic men and women try to specialize in love. Sorrow comes where hope is, to defer it. The true monastic learns never to defer hope, never to put off hoping to another day or leave it to others to do our hoping for us.
If we will fix our hope on this one thing, dear Sisters and Brothers of Cor Unum, that we might see the glory of God in all things forever, our joy will never be denied or diminished.
Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. ( 1 Corinthians 10:31 )
We may see the glory of God in all things, for we may glorify Him in all that we do. In every sorrow, in all our joy . . . in tribulation, in distress, in want and in plenty, may God ever be glorified by His own, here inside the glorious enclosure we have chosen, Cor Unum, the monastery of the heart.