Tuesday, February 7, 2012
February 7 – Ora et Labora
As hard as we may try to imagine what such seclusion and such pursuit would be like, it is very difficult for us to grasp the impact enclosure has on the soul.
First, of course, is the separation from family and from the known world. Like sailors setting out toward the uncharted horizon, so does the postulant enter a monastery hoping to stay forever in a world she cannot really understand ahead of time.
Even sailors have a camaraderie that monastics do not share, but when the cloistered man or woman begins to grasp the divine import of the house Rule, as each must come to do, there will always be a deep and abiding sense of purpose, of mission, and of value. To choose to spend any one day in worship and prayer is to choose blessing and strength; monastics have chosen unending days and months and years and decades of devotion.
There is always work to be done as well. Benedict’s rule called for “Ora et Labora” . . . “Prayer and Work” . . . for he was wise enough to see that such a stringent life of praise and inner devotion and combat would need the balance of a good half hour’s floor scrubbing. What’s more, monasteries gather dust and the most pious postulants must still be fed!
We truly have it all here in Cor Unum. We have camaraderie; we have work; we have devotion; we choose worship and prayer. We order our lives; we govern our souls. We join with others, cloistered monastics and marketplace monastics all over the world, and we do practice the “Ora et Labora” that brings us into the Presence and Pleasure of the God we love, here in Cor Unum Abbey.