It must be humbling to live so close together as nuns do and yet not be able to vaunt one’s personality and predilections.
“I’m a night-owl. I get my second wind around 10:00 p.m.”
“I’m up long before the early bird. I’ve finished half a day’s work before the sun comes up!”
Which are you? If we lived together in cloister, we would know one another quite well in a fairly short time, but the “night owl” has to turn her lights out at the same time as her Sisters! The early riser may wake up, but she cannot get going until the gong sounds! No special kudos will ever belong to either.
The chosen monastic work is the same for everybody: to stay in the closest possible fellowship with God, individually, and to squeeze every last drop of worship out of the clock’s … and the heart’s … allowance. Here in Cor Unum, it is ours, too. Whether we have jobs, children, both, husbands, loneliness, obligations, all or none, we want what nuns want – MORE OF GOD! We are what they are, numbered among those who will walk with God where they are! That is nun-ship! We may not seem to have as many drops, but we will offer what we have to God, and it is enough. We may be surprised at how full the cup.
The Opus Dei is their chosen work, and to each his own before God, it’s ours, too. Twenty-four hours each, that’s what we are given. We will order our days toward the Nearness of God and prayer. That accomplishment will require proper sleep. Without rest, we cannot worship and pray as we would. In chronic exhaustion, we wouldn’t if we could. There have been miraculous exemptions for those who have known forced labor and war, and for those times when we have to make our way through personal tragedy. However, on a day-to-day basis our commitment to seek the Lord is tied to our commitment to rest as we should.
We know by His Word that God “giveth His beloved sleep.” (Psalm 127:2) We know we are His beloved people. We know, too, that we love to watch television, check email, pick up a good book, or call somebody who’s still up, right to the door of bedtime, even a late bedtime. (For married women, it isn’t only the Lord who takes a back seat to our bad habits!)
This matter in this monastery is entirely personal. The gong doesn’t sound to signal the Great Silence (more’s the pity!), but the alarm clock does chime in the morning. In honor to the God we love, let’s begin to make sure we get the sleep we really need. Let both too little and too much give way to proper rest. It’s nothing more than the encouragement we would give our own children, if they were off to college, and nothing less than we would want for them, starting their adult or married lives. There is something spiritually MIGHTY about doing ourselves those things we have drilled into our kids!
"Too Much Christmas!"
from the Abbey photo file