Wednesday, January 25, 2012
January 25 – Shrink the Distance
We are looking today at how closely the three Benedictine vows of obedience, stability, and “conversatio” line up with our own devotion to Jesus Christ.
Jesus said, in the 15th chapter of John, “If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love.” Love and obedience are conjoined, to our great benefit and to the glory of God.
Look, too, at the idea of stability. The apostle Peter was privileged to pen these words:
“As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him — you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 2:4, 5)
From the windows of heaven, we are a house, even a home, all together, for the Spirit of Christ. There are earthly homes in which we are to abide, some forever, and some for a season of blessing and purpose.
Now, that pesky “conversatio” vow . . . imagine taking a vow that you will never rest content with the person you have become! That could be a stumbling block, but not under Benedict’s watchful eye, and certainly not under the care of the Holy Spirit, either.
It’s for freedom that Christ has set us free, and the Benedictine believes that knowing Jesus and the fellowship of HIS sufferings and conformity to HIS death to be the goal of life. They know that when He suffered, He did not accuse or revile. They know that their sufferings are working a more exceeding weight of glory in their lives, no matter how tiny that sacrifice might seem.
Most of them would tell us that, after awhile, and some from the beginning, their separation from the world becomes a small thing to them; it is the distance between each Sister or Brother and Jesus that looms large, and they live to shrink that distance every day. THAT is what Cor Unum represents, and that is what we are about, here in the monastery of the heart.