Sunday, March 4, 2012

March 4 – Cell-abration

We have seen that for ten minutes of prayer, ten minutes of something else will have to be set aside. For fifteen minutes of “Lectio Divina” and five minutes of worship, twenty minutes have to be consecrated; in all that the love God has for us, He does not give us twenty-five hour days so that we can get our devotional time in without losing anything we have been enjoying heretofore.

It helps to have a “cell.” For the monastic, from rising to sleep, worshiping Him in choir, in dining, in work, and in company, the nun’s cell is where she goes to worship Him more! In her “bedroom” there are no delightful novels (the Screwtape Letters she might consider light reading!,) no cooking magazines to flip through, there is no radio, no cd player, nothing to cross-stitch, no way to call her friends for a chat. The only distraction is a crucifix, the only decoration, a small plastic skull!

A sense of purposelessness is the post-modern plague. With the myriad choices before us, with the thousand activities that call to us week by week, we have forgotten why we are here and why there are twenty-four hours to the day. We can’t ever get everything done, but in all we do, we wonder why we are doing it. We know, and sometimes we sum up, that apart from marital and family love, nothing seems to have any value, and even those entities fail all too often. Perhaps we give to the poor or help the wounded, but we almost begin to wonder . . . must they be afflicted so that our lives can have meaning?

There are those in cells – prison cells – who have come to live better than that. For all that has been taken away from them, they have learned what it is to seek the Lord. Incarcerated monastics, they wait on Him, like a handmaiden who looks to the hand of her mistress to see if it beckons. Where their opportunities to do good may be very few, their service of worship is unending. Of necessity they have forgotten themselves: that would only defile their service.

The parallel is clear. Monks and nuns rejoice to be given a cell and make it a sanctuary; monastic prisoners make of their cells a house of worship and rise above their confinement. We in Cor Unum have chosen never again to be imprisoned with busy-ness or confined in prayerlessness. We kneel by our beds, we find a favorite chair and leave our Bibles at hand, we flee to the quiet of celebration: the Lord our God is our good!

"Our Cell"
Abbatial Photo

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