Wednesday, January 18, 2012

January 18 – The Marketplace Nun

If yesterday’s perspective seemed more than the marketplace monastic could ever do, let’s take a look and see if that’s true.

Early morning. The marketplace nun wakes up, puts the coffee on or gets a cup of hot tea and retires to the sanctuary . . . her favorite chair . . . with her Bible. What she DOES NOT DO is get online! Not yet! She opens to where she left off . . . she reads and she prays about what she reads. On her bookmark is a list of her family members and two or three others for whom she prays daily. As she reads, she proclaims the goodness and mercy of God as often as she sees it in Scripture, and she finds it everywhere. She gives thanks continually as she reads and prays the very promises before her. She pauses from time to time to let her heart express its gratitude and worship to the God of the Scripture, the Savior of her soul.

She uses what time she has, praying wholeheartedly for those on her list ... on her heart ... and then she reads a few verses that she is committing to memory by repetition, something that proclaims the nature and faithfulness of God, and she is done. If she had an hour, she stayed an hour. If she had fifteen minutes, she stayed that long. What she doesn’t do is give her time with the Lord to the television or the computer, first thing.

The marketplace nun is learning to use the rhythms of life to compose her Divine Office. Every day, as she checks to make sure the doors are locked before leaving, or as she sees the children off to school, she prays over her home and family, just a 30 or 60 second prayer, but she makes it “real.” As she drives to work or gathers the laundry, she commits her soul and the hours of her day to the Lord. At lunch, when she sits down in her home or in her car on the way to pick up a sandwich, she brings her heart before the Lord. She asks, “Father, have I sinned against you that you would forgive me and cleanse me from all unrighteousness,” and then she has lunch, rejoicing in the finished work of Jesus on the cross. Lunch time becomes a glorious, daily celebration of redemption, for herself and others as she prays.

In the afternoon, just before the children return from school or her husband from work, or the moment she comes home from the office, before she does anything else, she kneels and sings a song of thanksgiving or praise, just a hymn or two, or she reads a Psalm of praise, extolling the Lord and asking for an evening of rest and beauty in His Presence. This can take two minutes or twenty; she makes time, and she gives what time she has.

After dinner, or before she goes to bed, she returns to the God she loves. No television, no email or social networking for fifteen or twenty or minutes, at least ... she spends “face time” with Jesus Christ. Now she pours out her heart in prayer for those she loves, and she lets the Word of Christ work wonders in her heart. She falls asleep with a song or a Scripture revolving her in heart, refusing to let any anxiety or distraction take the place of her sleeping vigil with the Lord.

The marketplace nun has entered the cloister, and she loves its walls, and there she resides with Jesus, the Lover of her soul.

"Mornings in the Monastery"
Abbatial Photo, by Ashley

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