Thursday, March 1, 2012

March 1 – “Ought To” Or “Want To”?

We must be sure that all this monastic rigamarole, these multiple bowings before the Lord and these fastings and comings and goings before the Throne of Grace and buffetings of our flesh by disallowing one thing and insisting upon another … we must be certain that these are not our attempt to slink off to the dark and dangerous habitat of The Law, as Savior and Lord.

It is not difficult to ascertain our motives. Do we press on to know the Lord, to have more and so much more of Him and to infuse our lives with more of His Word and grace and love, or because we think we ought?

The wonderful thing about the cloister is that the legalistic soul will shrivel up and, well, leave! . . . unless the life itself begins to revive it! A woman might gain access to the monastery and a cell therein because of “ought to” (although the community would see through “ought to” in a moment and discourage her entrance,) but “ought to” doesn’t want to stay. The pleasures are lost on “ought to,” and the Abbey is meant for the pleasure of the Lord.

“Want to” knows that to touch His pleasure is to know pleasure, and “want to” knows that He is never pleased by “ought to” unless it is birthed in the “want to” of loving devotion.

This much can “ought to” do for us: when we at times bow before the Lord or pick up our Bibles or quiet our souls for devotion, not because we “want to,” but because we “ought to,” if at those moments our “ought to” is rooted in the assurance that what we “ought to” do will get us to that place where we “want to” be, into a devoted lifestyle where the bells of our hearts call us to regular, consistent, happy and effectual devotion, then we do what we “ought to,” and rejoice to do it!

"I Ought to Be . . . Here!"
Abbatial Photo

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