Tuesday, April 17, 2012
April 17 –
Once upon a time, there lived a little girl in a tremendous city, a beautiful child in an ivory tower, or at least it might have been, for how many times she escaped her front door.
Once she did take a ride on the underground, in the company of her most capable nanny, and once or twice she was taken to look at some of the beautiful paintings and exhibits that others could visit every day, but then, she had beautiful paintings and artifacts in the castle where she was kept. Every now and then, she even had a friend, specially imported for the afternoon, and they would take tea together and try to discover how to have fun.
She wasn’t particularly good at fun, but she was so interested in others and so kind-hearted, that fun found its way into the castle quite naturally for a little while. The King and Queen were fun, but busy, and she passed a happy childhood somehow, if lonely and utterly unusual. It was also unusual because she didn’t want fun anywhere near as much as she wanted to be glad.
The little girl, you see, was a princess, and that is where the fairy tale ends. I mean to say, she was no fairy tale princess; she was the genuine article. When she was still quite young, but old enough to understand the gravity of her destiny, her father had become King of the realm, and nothing then stood between her and the throne but her father’s long life. Sadly, long life was, for him, a fairy tale, and she herself became the monarch, a most monastic monarch, as most modern monarchies must be.
Often, it would seem, the better the reign, the lonelier the sovereign. It is no accident that many of the best kings and queens have been the happiest married, for a good marriage does dispel some of the ache of a lonely calling. It is not to be wondered that kings and queens have surrounded themselves with witty, winsome, and sometimes wise courtiers, but only the truly monastic have been truly great. We define monastic as alone and content before God, no matter where, no matter what, no matter when, no matter what anyone else is doing. Alone and content and with the most high calling, that He should be pleased by our faith and in our love, and in this Elizabeth II, Regina was superior of her Abbey and as Queen of her realm, a modern monastic.
"Crowned With Gladness"